Iran’s Health Ministry says two people in the city of Qom have died of the novel coronavirus, in the first cases tested positive in Iran.
According to a Health Ministry advisor, the samples taken from the two men who died of respiratory problems showed they had the new coronavirus.
Kiyanoush Jahanpour, the head of the Health Ministry’s public relations department, had earlier said “in the past two days, some suspected cases of the new coronavirus were found” in the central city of Qom.
“Subsequent tests are in progress and the results of these tests will be released to the public, once they are finalized,” he said.
“Medical teams have been deployed in Qom and the suspected people have been quarantined,” he added.
He did not say how many people were suspected of having the virus, which causes the illness recently named COVID-19.
The new virus emerged in China in December. Since then, more than 70,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.
The virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.