Iran confirms 43 COVID-19 cases, 8 dead

February 23, 2020 - 13:28

TEHRAN – The number of people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, in Iran has increased to 43, of whom eight have so far lost their lives.

Deputy health minister Kiyanoush Jahanpour said on Sunday that 15 new cases of infection with the virus have been confirmed, seven of them were in Qom, four in Tehran, two in Gilan, one in Markazi, and one in Mazandaran provinces, IRNA reported.

The Iranian Ministry of Health announced on Friday that the fourth batch of test kits, special for diagnosing the coronavirus has been delivered to Iran with the assistance of Christoph Hamelmann, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Iran.

World health officials have said the respiratory disease is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing and germs left on inanimate objects. There are no proven therapies for the new virus.

Preliminary results from two clinical trials testing potential treatments for COVID-19 are expected in three weeks, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Health minister says virus came from China travel

Health minister Saeed Namaki said Sunday that travel from China brought the new virus to the country. He told state TV that the virus came from China to the holy city of Qom in central Iran. He said that one of the Iranian dead from the virus was a merchant who regularly shuttled between the two countries using indirect flights in recent weeks, after Iran stopped direct passenger flights to China.

Namaki also defended the government's handling of the outbreak, saying it was being “transparent.” Iran is also producing kits for diagnosis of the infection, he added.