Pompeo urges Iran to reveal 'truth' on coronavirus outbreak
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The comments came as Iran's deputy health minister said on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi coughed accassionally and appeared to be sweating when he appeared in Tehran at a government press conference on Monday to dispel claims of a high death toll from the virus.
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Harirchi denied the politician's claim and said he would resign if the number proved to be true.
In a video broadcast on state television, the deputy minister admitted he had been infected and pledged to overcome the virus.
"I too have been infected with coronavirus," Harirchi said.
"I had a fever as of last night and my preliminary test was positive around midnight," he said.
"I've isolated myself in a place since. A few minutes ago, I was told that my final test was final, and now I am starting medication.
"I wanted to tell you that... we will definitely be victorious against this virus in the next few weeks," Harirchi declared.
But he warned Iranians to be careful as the "virus does not discriminate" and infects anyone, regardless of standing.
Shortly after Harirchi's revelation, a politician representing the capital Tehran in parliament said he had also tested positive for the coronavirus.
"My corona test is positive... I don't have a lot of hope of continuing life in this world," Mahmoud Sadeghi said in a tweet.
Read also: Iran becomes epicentre of coronavirus in the Middle East, here's how Arab countries are preparing
He called on Iranian authorities to grant political prisoners compassionate release in order to prevent them from getting infected, Reuters reported.
According to the health ministry, most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are among people who have recently visited the holy city.
Health minister Saeed Namaki defended the decision on Tuesday, calling quarantine an "old method".
"We still do not agree with quarantining cities since we believe the people are cultured enough to refrain from travelling from infected cities to other places," semi-official news agency ISNA quoted him as saying.
Cross-border precautionary measures
A number of countries in the Middle East region have grounded flights and shuttered their borders with the Islamic Republic in recent days.
Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman all reported their first cases of the virus this week.
On Tuesday, the Lebanese government banned nationals from taking part in pilgrimages to Iran and other Middle East countries after a citizen tested positive upon return from the Islamic Republic.
Lebanese Muslims regularly fly to Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia for religious trips, including Mecca for Haj or Umrah.
Shia Muslims also regularly travel to Iran's holy city of Qom for pilgrimage.
Turkey said it had shut its borders with Iran on Sunday, but Turkish Airlines continues to operate flights from Tehran to Istanbul restricted to Turkish passengers.
A Tehran-Istanbul flight was redirected to Ankara's Esenboga airport on Tuesday after 17 passengers on board presented with symptoms of the coronavirus.
No cases of the virus have been detected in Turkey as of yet.
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