Iran reports 1 death among 10 new COVID-19 cases

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 22 2020 06:34 PM

Iranian women wearing protective masks to prevent contracting a coronavirus walk at Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 20, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee, West Asia News Agency/Reuters

TEHRAN - Iran on Saturday reported 1 more death among 10 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Islamic republic to 5 and infections to 28.

"We have 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on state television.

"One of the new cases has unfortunately passed away," he added, noting that 8 of them had been hospitalized in Qom and 2 in Tehran, without specifying where the death occurred.

The COVID-19 outbreak first emerged in Iran on Wednesday, when officials said it killed 2 elderly people in Qom, a Shiite holy city south of the capital.

They were the first confirmed deaths from the disease in the Middle East.

Since then, Iran has carried out tests on 785 suspected cases, Jahanpour said.

"Most of the cases are either Qom residents or have a history of coming and going from Qom to other cities," the health ministry spokesman said.

Qom is a center for Islamic studies and pilgrims, attracting scholars from Iran and beyond. An official said the first 2 victims, who were Qom residents, had not left Iran.

Following the announcement of the deaths, neighboring Iraq on Thursday clamped down on travel to and from the Islamic republic, with its health ministry announcing people in Iran were barred from entering the country "until further notice."

Kuwait's national carrier Kuwait Airways also announced it would suspend all flights to Iran.