Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister catches coronavirus

Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s Deputy Health Minister has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been quarantined, ILNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

No fewer than 95 people had been diagnosed with the dangerous disease.

The majority of confirmed cases in the country come from the city of Qom – a centre of traditional pilgrimage for Shia Muslims, with at least 15 Iranians dying from the disease.

Harirchi on Monday fiercely opposed putting Qom residents under quarantine. He said: “If We Shut Down Qom, People Would Go Travelling, spreading Coronavirus All Over the Country”.

Iraj Harirchi, left opposing quarantine in Qom

Following previous reports about casualties in Iran, several countries, including Turkey, imposed temporary bans on people travelling to and from the Islamic Republic.

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In the meantime, the deadly disease, originally discovered in China’s Wuhan, has killed over 2,600 people across the globe.

Some 80,000 have been infected, including 77,000 people in China, 1,200 in South Korea and 229 in Italy.

Austrian and Croatian authorities have now also confirmed the first cases of the disease in their countries.