Iran says 43 infected with coronavirus, eight dead: Official

Reuters Dubai Feb 23, 2020, 05.31 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced the 15 new cases earlier on Sunday.

Iran has confirmed 15 new cases of the new coronavirus, taking the total to 43 with a death toll of eight. Most of the infections have been in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom.

"The virus came from China to Qom city. A Merchant from Qom who died of the virus used to regularly travel to China ... Flights were suspended between the two countries but he used indirect flights," Health Minister Saeed Namaki said.

Also read: South Korea raises alert to highest level as coronavirus cases jump

He urged people to avoid travelling to Qom, a major destination for Shi'ite pilgrims 120 km (75 miles) south of the capital Tehran.

"Obviously we do not recommend trips to Qom or any other holy Shi'ite cities in Iran," Namaki said on state television.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced the 15 new cases earlier on Sunday.

"So far, we have 43 infected cases and the death toll is eight," he told the television.

Eight of the new infections were in Qom, where authorities have shut down schools and religious seminaries. In Tehran and some other cities, schools have been closed until Tuesday.