An Iranian street vendor sells protective masks in the capital Tehran on Feb 20,2020. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
DUBAI — The coronavirus has spread to several Iranian cities, a health ministry official said on Friday, as an outbreak that the authorities say began in the holy city of Qom caused two more deaths.
Iran confirmed 13 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total in the country to 18, with four of the total having died.
“Based on existing reports, the spread of coronavirus started in Qom and with attention to people’s travels has now reached several cities in the country including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities,” health ministry official Minou Mohrez said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
The majority of coronavirus cases in Iran have been in Qom, a Shi’ite Muslim holy city 120 km south of the capital Tehran
“It’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” she said.
The majority of coronavirus cases in Iran have been in Qom, a Shi’ite Muslim holy city 120 km south of the capital Tehran.
The new cases comprised seven people diagnosed in Qom, four in the capital Tehran and two in Gilan province, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a tweet.
Health officials had called on Thursday for the suspension of all religious gatherings in Qom.
“It’s clear that new coronavirus has circulated in the country,” health ministry official Mohrez said, according to IRNA.
Iraqi Airways has suspended flights to neighboring Iran as a protective measure against the coronavirus outbreak, the Iraqi state news agency said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a source from Lebanon's health ministry told Xinhua on Friday that the country had detected its first coronavirus case on a plane from Iran a day earlier.
With Xinhua input
HONG KONG NEWS