Amid the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, authorities in Iran reported three more coronavirus deaths among the new 15 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 43. According to Iran's local media outlet, the outbreak of the deadly virus in Iran has centred on the holy city of Qom. Iran's health minister, Saeed Namaki believes that travel from China brought the new virus to the Middle Eastern country.
While speaking to the media outlet, Namaki defended the government's handling of the outbreak and said that it was being 'transparent'. He further also said that Iran is also producing kits for diagnosis of the infection. Namaki also urged people not to visit Qom, which is a major destination for Shiite pilgrims.
Furthermore, the Iranian government has reportedly closed down schools and religious seminaries in Qom. According to reports, schools in Tehran and four other cities were also closed. Iran also has set up nearly 36 screening stations at different ports of entry to the country to check for possible infected travellers.
Meanwhile, according to Hubei's health commission, the death toll in China has also risen to over 2,400. The authorities further reported 630 new confirmed cases which brought the total within China to nearly 77,000. However, China has also reported a significant decline in new cases as well as deaths caused by the deadly virus.
The World Health Organisation has reportedly welcomed the decline in new cases in China but continues to be concerned about the growing number of infections in other countries. The real disturbing trend, as reported by WHO, is that the new cases have no links to China such as travel history or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, prompting the mystery around how these individuals were infected. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also claimed that the biggest fear for the organisation is that the virus will continue to spread to other countries and especially those with weaker health systems.