Coronavirus: two new deaths in Iran, concern grows in the region
A member of the medical staff takes the temperature of the passengers when they arrive at Nadjaf airport, in Iraq, on February 21, 2020. REUTERS / Alaa al-Marjani
Text by: RFI Follow
Iranian authorities announced this Friday, February 20, that two new people infected with the coronavirus have died in the country. Concern spreads to neighboring countries.
In the middle of an election day in Iran, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday the death of two new people infected with the coronavirus, bringing the official death toll to four dead in the Islamic Republic. Authorities also confirmed that 13 new people have been infected with the virus, bringing the total sick to 18.
Authorities say they identified more precisely the first two illness-related deaths in the Shiite holy city of Qom. According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Kianouche Jahanpour, seven of the 13 new cases were recorded in this city, four in Tehran, and two in Gilan, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, in the north of the country.
But a senior Iranian government official who wished to remain anonymous told the Persian news agency RFI that the number of people infected and suspected of being infected exceeds 300 in Qom, and 750 in all countries, while 'at least three people died in Tehran.
To great ills, great remedies
Fearing that the coronavirus will spread on its soil, Iraq has closed its border to Iranian nationals. An exceptional measure when trade with the great Iranian neighbor is essential for the Iraqi economy. Iraqi Airways has suspended its routes to the Islamic Republic, as has Kuwait Airways.
Until then rather spared, the countries of the Middle East fear the arrival of the coronavirus. Because Qom, where most of the contamination in Iran has been recorded, welcomes thousands of pilgrims and students from the region throughout the year. It is in this city that a 45-year-old Lebanese girl went who was taken care of on Friday at Beirut airport. This is the first case of coronavirus identified in the country of the Cedar. In Lebanon, as in Iraq, travelers from Iran will now be quarantined for two weeks.
In Turkey, the Minister of Health announced the establishment of a health book for all Iranians who enter the territory. He added that they would also have to undergo medical examinations upon arrival at the airport.
The situation is getting complicated
The " window of fire " to stem the epidemic of the new coronavirus " is shrinking, " the World Health Organization announced on Friday as cases outside China continue to progress. “ This is why we called on the international community to act quickly, including in terms of funding. This is not what we are seeing, ”said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference in Geneva.
" Although the total number of cases outside of China remains relatively small, we are concerned about the number of cases with no clear epidemiological link, such as travel history or contact with a confirmed case ," he said. -He underlines. The epidemic has already infected more than 75,500 people in China and 1,150 in 26 other countries. The new virus has killed more than 200 people in China and 8 others around the world, according to the WHO.
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