shuts schools, cultural centres as coronavirus kills six
deaths in Iran count for the most in any country outside China.
sixth death from the coronavirus has been reported in Iran as
authorities in more than a dozen affected provinces ordered the
closure of schools, universities and cultural centres in a bid to
contain the outbreak.
Aghazadeh, governor of the Markazi province, said late on Saturday
that tests of a patient who recently died in the central city of Arak
were positive for the virus.
person was also suffering from a heart problem, he told the official
IRNA news agency.
far, 28 cases have been confirmed in Iran, but it was not immediately
clear if the sixth fatality was among those cases.
of those who lost their lives are believed to be Iranian citizens,
and the deaths in Iran account for the most in any country outside
the new coronavirus emerged in December, it has killed 2,345 people
in China, the epicentre of the epidemic, and more than a dozen people
elsewhere in the world.
known as COVID-19, the infection first surfaced in Iran on Wednesday,
when authorities said it claimed the lives of two elderly people in
Qom, a Shia holy city south of the capital.
Ministry of Health said most of the confirmed cases are either “Qom
residents or have a history of coming and going from Qom to other
a “preventive measure”, authorities ordered the closure of
schools, universities and other educational centres in 14 provinces
across the country from Sunday, according to state television.
include Qom, Markazi, Gilan, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Zanjan,
Mazandaran, Golestan, Hamedan, Alborz, Semnan, Kurdistan and the
government also announced that “all art and cinema events in
halls across the country have been cancelled until the end of the
week” in order to stop infections.
are on the frontlines, we need help,” head of Qom’s medical
sciences university said on state TV.
I can say one thing, it is, ‘help Qom,'” said Mohammadreza
has yet to confirm the origin of the outbreak, but one official
speculated that it was brought in by Chinese workers.
coronavirus epidemic has started in the country,” state news
agency IRNA quoted the health ministry’s Minoo Mohraz as saying.
“Since those infected in Qom had no contact with the Chinese …
the source is probably Chinese workers who work in Qom and have
travelled to China,” she added, without providing any evidence
to support her claim.
city of Tehran, meanwhile, closed down all bistros and water
fountains in the capital’s subway stations until further notice.
also suspended popular football matches for 10 days and additional
measures include daily cleanings of metro train cars and city buses.
Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Tehran, said there was concern
on the streets of the capital.
are seeing people question the government’s account, and asking how
many people are actually affected. They don’t really trust the
government, partly because when that Ukrainian airliner was shot
down, the government spent three days denying it,” he said,
referring to a January 8 plane disaster in which 176 people were
killed when the military accidentally shot down a passenger jet.
are suspicious. The schools are closed. The seminaries are closed,
concerts, film screenings cancelled to stop large numbers of people
congregating,” he said, adding: “Now on state TV, they’ve
been showing videos of how to wear face masks properly and how people
can wash their hands.”
the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the
speed at which COVID-19 has spread in Iran, as well as it being
exported from the country to other territories in the region.
concern is … that we have seen an increase in cases, a very rapid
increase in a matter of a few days,” said Sylvie Briand,
director of the WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness
are just wondering also about the potential of more exported cases in
the coming days,” she added.
cases in Iran have affected neighbouring countries.
United Arab Emirates announced two new coronavirus cases on Saturday,
an Iranian tourist and his wife, the state news agency WAM reported,
raising the total number of coronavirus cases in that country to 13.
confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday, a 45-year-old woman
returning from Qom.
announced on Thursday that it had banned border crossings by Iranian
nationals, while Iraqi Airways suspended flights to Iran. Kuwait
Airways also suspended all flights to Iran starting on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had suspended travel by citizens and
expatriates to Iran.
Airways was operating special flights to evacuate more than 700
Kuwaitis from the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad on Saturday,
it said in a post on its official Twitter account.
Fatality Rate is
20% in Iran