Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi has confirmed that he has been tested positive for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) yesterday (25 Feb) after denying that authorities were covering up the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in the Shi’ite shrine city of Qom.
During a press conference on Monday (24 Feb) at Teheran, lawmaker Ahmad Amirabadi-Farahani claimed that the virus had affected Qom three weeks ago and 50 people have died from the coronavirus.
However, the health minister denied the death toll and vowed to resign if the number proved to be true.
The lawmaker refused to retract his claim and noted he had given a list of 40 death cases to the minister and awaited his resignation.
Meanwhile, Mr Harirchi appeared to be sweating and coughing a few times during the press conference.
Mr Harirchi posted a video on social media the following day and admitted that he too has contracted the virus, The Guardian reported.
????حریرچی: من هم کرونایی شدم، حتما کرونا را شکست می دهیم. pic.twitter.com/O0zsfDwgAS
— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) February 25, 2020
“I had a fever yesterday. The tests came back positive last night. I isolated myself. Just a few moments ago, I was told that the final test came. I’ll start taking medicine. Generally, I feel fine,” said Mr Harirchi in the video.
“Be sure with the effort of the medical staff and ministry of health headed by the [health minister] and with your support and the state and military within the coming weeks, we’ll be victorious against this virus,” he added.
He also shared the same message in a video broadcast on state television yesterday.
On the other hand, another Iranian member of parliament (MP), Mahmoud Sadeghi, has also been tested positive with the coronavirus disease yesterday.
“My corona test is positive… I don’t have a lot of hope of continuing life in this world,” Mr Sadeghi posted on Twitter.
Mr Sadeghi also urged the head of Iran’s judiciary to release political prisoners to prevent them from getting infected and to permit them to spend the period of the outbreak with their families.
Iran has been one of the worst-hit countries outside of China with 95 confirmed cases and 16 deaths to date.