TEHRAN – Iranian health authorities Friday reported two more deaths from the new virus that emerged in China and said the fatalities were from among 13 new confirmed cases of the virus in Iran.
The report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency came as Iranians voted in nationwide parliamentary elections. After authorities reported two earlier deaths this week, the death toll from COVID-19, the illness caused by virus, stands at four in Iran.
So far, 18 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including the four who died.
The spokesman of the health ministry, Kianoush Jahanpour, said the newly detected cases are all linked with city of Qom where the first two elderly patients died on Wednesday.
Jahanpour said the new cases were either from Qom or had visited the city recently. He said four of them have been hospitalized in the capital, Tehran, and two in northern province of Gilan.
Minoo Mohraz, an Iranian health ministry official, said the virus “possibly came from Chinese workers who work in Qom and traveled to China.” She did not elaborate. A Chinese company has been building a solar power plant in Qom.
In Lebanon, Health Minister Hamad Hassan on Friday reported the Mediterranean country’s first case of the new virus.
At a news conference in Beirut, he said the patient was a 45-year-old woman who arrived Thursday on a flight from Qom. He said the woman was in “good health” and the ministry was also following up on the cases of two other people suspected of having the illness.