Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency
Disinfecting public transportation in Iran during the coronavirus outbreak

Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The deputy health minister said in a video statement released online that he was entering self-quarantine at home.

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In the video, Haririchi said, “I too have been infected with coronavirus. I wanted to tell you that … we will definitely be victorious against this virus in the next few weeks.” But he also warned his fellow Iranians to be careful, pointing out that the virus “does not discriminate” and can infect anyone.

Harirchi heads the country’s anti-coronavirus task force. He was diagnosed with the illness the day after a news conference in Tehran where he appeared physically ill. He was not wearing a mask at the time, reporters said.

During the news conference, Harirchi had denied a claim by a local lawmaker in the northern holy city of Qom who said 50 people there had died so far from the virus. Millions pass through Qom on pilgrimage each year.

On Tuesday, Iran did confirm that 15 people have died in the country from COVID-19, and said there were 95 confirmed cases of the illness in the country.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.