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EghtesadOnline: Health officials announced that the novel coronavirus has infected 95 people and three more have died, bringing the death toll to 15 as of Feb. 25, the highest number of deaths outside China.

The infectious disease has taken the lives of three more patients and 34 more people have contracted the virus, the head of the Health Ministry’s Media Center, Kianoush Jahanpour, said on Tuesday, ISNA reported.

The deadly virus, which was contained in central and northern parts of Iran, has now entered southern Fars and Hormozgan provinces, which have reported two confirmed cases. A majority of the confirmed cases had traveled to the holy city of Qom, the center of the epidemic in Iran, according to Financial Tribune.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said they are supervising and controlling hotspot cities, such as Qom. Despite the demand by one of the representatives of the province in Monday's parliamentary session to quarantine the religious center, the city is not under lockdown yet.

Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi in a video released on Tuesday announced his test for the coronavirus has come out positive and he said with a clenched fist that he has "kept his spirits up". 

The deputy minister was seen coughing on a live television program the night before. Parliament member, Mahmoud Sadeqi, has also caught the virus.



Emergency Measures 

Iran is disinfecting public places, including yellow cabs and buses. Officials have asked the public to refrain from attending social events. Schools have either been officially closed or parents refuse to send their children to classes.

Middle East countries have begun to report cases of the coronavirus, some of which have been linked to travelers who visited Iran in recent weeks.

Iraqi health officials said a family of four who had returned from their trip to Iran have all tested positive for the virus. Iraq's first case was a 22-year-old Iranian student living in the holy city of Najaf. The neighboring country has closed borders with Iran.

Oman and Lebanon's first cases of the infection have also come from Iran. Regional countries, including Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain, have detected the disease in travelers arriving from Iran.

Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Jordan and Kuwait are among countries that have restricted travel to and from Iran or closed borders with the country that is turning into a coronavirus hotspot in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a tweet on Tuesday, calling for "regional cooperation" against the infection in the form of a "Joint Center for Disease Control and Prevention." 

COVID-19 has infected over 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700 people worldwide. Roughly 27,000 patients have recovered from the disease.


Iran China death toll coronavirus novel coronavirus