Iran Confirms First Two Cases of Coronavirus

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By Paul Martin

19 Feb 2020

Iranian officials on Wednesday announced the country’s first two cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. No official information about the individuals or how they contracted the disease was provided.

“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,” said a government spokesman.

Reuters quoted a statement from the Iranian health ministry that the two patients have been placed in isolation. Local media reports suggest the two are Iranian nationals, but this had not been officially confirmed as of Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press quoted a Wednesday report from the “semiofficial ISNA news agency” in which a Health Ministry official said, “some suspected cases of the new coronavirus” have been found.

“Subsequent tests are in progress and the results of these tests will be released to the public, once they are finalized. Medical teams have been deployed in Qom and the suspected persons have been quarantined,” the official said.

The number of Wuhan coronavirus infections worldwide surpassed 75,000 on Wednesday, with over 2,000 fatalities. Only five of the reported deaths from the disease have occurred outside China so far.

CBS News cited official statistics that the coronavirus is fatal in about two percent of cases, which would be much worse than ordinary strains of the flu, contrary to Chinese propaganda that constantly asserts the Wuhan virus is less dangerous than the flu.

However, CBS also quoted speculation from infectious disease experts that a large number of infections might have gone unreported, so the mortality rate would be lower if they were included in the calculation.

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