Dubai: Iran’s Deputy Health minister Iraj Harirchi is seen in a press confrence sweating, and wiping his face to later test positive of the coronavirus.
Iraj Harirchi, a deputy health minister who has been the face of the government's campaign against the virus, said he tested positive for it late Monday, the day he gave a press briefing on efforts to combat the outbreak.
Iran has become the epicenter of the disease in the Middle East, recording the highest number of deaths outside China. It has reported 15 deaths and 95 confirmed cases so far, and all of its Arab neighbors that have been affected by the virus have linked their cases to Iran.
In an interview with the state-run news outlet IRNA, a spokesman for the ministry said that Mr. Harirchi had been experiencing weakness and flulike symptoms on Monday before holding a news briefing, and tested positive for the virus later in the day. It is unclear how he contracted the virus, but health officials said he had been dealing with some patients suspected of having the coronavirus.
Harirchi confirmed the news in a video clip published on social media, adding that he was in good health and promising that Iran would defeat its coronavirus epidemic in a few weeks.
Iran's coronavirus death toll rose to 16 on Tuesday, the most outside China, heightening its international isolation as dozens of worst-hit nations from South Korea to Italy accelerated emergency measures to curb the epidemic's global spread.
Believed to come from wildlife in Wuhan city late last year, the flu-like disease has infected 80,000 people and killed 2,663 in China. But the World Health Organization (WHO) says the epidemic there has peaked and been declining since Feb. 2.