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Iran confirms three more coronavirus cases following deaths of two patients

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran has risen to five [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 February, 2020

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The total number of COVID-19 cases in Iran has risen to five, following two deaths from the virus in Qom on Wednesday.
Three patients in Iran have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a health ministry spokesman said on Thursday, the potentially deadly disease that has caused global panic.

"Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Qom and one person in Arak, bringing the total of confirmed cases to five in Iran," Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a tweet.

The new cases come a day after the health ministry announced two people had died from the COVID-19 virus in the city of Qom, just hours after their cases were publicly confirmed. The pair were reportedly elderly and had pre-existing immunity problems.

The deaths marked the first coronavirus fatalities in the Middle East and only the seventh and eighth outside China where the outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people.

"Following the recent cases of chronic respiratory diseases in Qom, two of the patients tested positive in preliminary tests," Jahanpur said on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately both passed away in the intensive care unit due to old age and issues with their immune system."

An Iranian newspaper reported last week that a 63-year-old woman had died in a Tehran hospital from a suspected coronavirus infection, however this was swiftly denied by Jahanpur, who said there were no cases of COVID-19 in Iran.

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