A Mahan Air flight on Wednesday evacuated dozens of Iranian citizens, along with a number of Iraqis, Syrians and Lebanese nationals, from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The plane landed in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport early Wednesday.
Kianoush Jahanpour, the head of the Iranian Health Ministry’s Public Relations Department, told ISNA the passengers were transferred to a special site for initial checks, which are currently underway.
“Following initial checks, the people will be transferred to a quarantine centre and will remain under special care for 14 days in order to ensure their health,” he noted.
Mohammad Mahdi Gooya, the head of the Health Ministry’s Communicable Diseases Centre, said none of the 50 Iranians evacuated from China were diagnosed with coronavirus.
He said they will still be quarantined for two weeks.
The death toll from the month-long coronavirus outbreak has continued to climb in China, rising to 490. New cases have surged by double-digit percentages in the past 11 days, with no sign of a slowdown.
More people have now died in this epidemic than in the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, outbreak of 2002-3 in mainland China. During that outbreak, 349 people died in the mainland.
The new figures from China’s Health Commission on Wednesday showed that 65 people died on Tuesday and that 3,887 more people had been infected. So far, 24,324 people are known to have been infected.
Health experts say the death toll is likely to rise because of the large number of infections. The mortality rate of the coronavirus, about 2 percent so far, appears to be far lower than SARS, which has a mortality rate of about 10 percent.