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Iranian woman dies of suspected coronavirus infection: local media

Iran's health authorities have denied any coronavirus cases in the country [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2020

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Iranian authorities have denied any coronavirus cases in the country, despite a national newspaper reporting a suspected death from the disease in Tehran.
An Iranian woman has died after falling ill following a suspected coronavirus infection, national newspaper IRAN reported on Wednesday, without citing any sources.

The 63-year-old died in hospital in Tehran two days previously, the newspaper said, adding that the investigation has been launched into the cause of death.

However a spokesman for Iran's Health Ministry, Kianush Jahanpour, denied the claims, reaffirming that there have been no cases of coronavirus in Iran.

Iranian health authorities have also repeatedly said there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

The coronavirus, which emerged in central China at the end of last year, has now killed more than 1,100 people and spread around the world.

Latest figures from China show there are more than 44,600 people infected in the country.

Outside mainland China, there have been nearly 500 infections reported in around 30 locations. There have been two deaths, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong.

The United Arab Emirates is the only country in the Middle East to have confirmed infections, with eight cases so far.

The virus was officially named "COVID-19" at a conference in Geneva held by the World Health Organization, where the body's chief said countries had a chance of stopping its global spread.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that although 99 percent of cases are in China, where it remains "very much an emergency," it also "holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world". 

He urged countries to share data in order to further research the disease.

China is accused of delaying informing the global community about the deadly outbreak, which it first reported in December, silencing whistleblower doctors who were noticing the spread in their clinics.

Some scientists estimated the disease could have started spreading as early as October.

Scientists are hoping to develop a vaccine against the virus within the next year.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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