Iran confirms first two cases of new coronavirus: Official

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 19, 2020, 06.04 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The patients have been put under isolation, the health ministry said. The cases were detected in holy city of Iran, Qom.

As China continues to battle the coronavirus epidemic, Iran confirmed two cases of coronavirus on Wednesday. This is the first cases of the deadly virus in Iran. 

"As we had promised to announce any confirmed cases, a few minutes ago the health minister confirmed the two cases of the new coronavirus in the city of Qom," government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said on Twitter.

The patients have been put under isolation, the health ministry said. The cases were detected in holy city of Iran, Qom.

The nationality of the infected people has not been revealed but several reports suggest that they were Iranian nationals.

The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the Middle East to report cases of coronavirus last month.

The death toll from the new coronavirus in mainland China passed 2,000 on Wednesday although the number of new cases fell for a second straight day, as authorities tightened already severe containment measures in the worst-hit city of Wuhan. The number of infected people surpassed 74,000.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Sun Chunlan said that efforts to prevent and control the coronavirus in China's Hubei province have made progress but the situation still remains severe.

Authorities in Beijing are urging both Hubei and its city of Wuhan,  which is at the centre of the outbreak, to strengthen checks on patients with fever, local media reported.

China's President Xi Jinping also called for greater protection of medical staff after the deaths of prominent doctors sparked national anger at the government's handling of the outbreak.

(With inputs from agencies)