Head of Iranian counter-coronavirus task force tests positive for virus

Head of Iranian counter-coronavirus task force tests positive for virus
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The head of Iran's task force on countering the coronavirus outbreak has been diagnosed with the disease just one day after he updated reporters at a press conference about prevention efforts.

The Associated Press reported that Iranian officials confirmed a diagnosis announced online by Iraj Harirchi, the top Iranian official responsible for dealing with the virus, and added that he would remain quarantined at home while he recovers.

The number of cases of the virus in Iran has spiked to 95 in recent days with at least 15 deaths, as officials in nearby Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have suspended passenger flights to the country in an attempt to prevent further spread of the virus.

Many of the cases have been reported in Qom, a holy city south of Iran's capital, but officials have cautioned that the disease could be more widespread.

“It’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” health ministry official Minou Mohrez said last week.

The coronavirus outbreak is thought to have begun in the Chinese city of Wuhan at a now-shuttered seafood and live animal market, and has since spread to tens of thousands of Chinese residents. The latest totals show more than 77,000 people infected in China with more than 2,000 deaths. The virus has infected more than 80,000 worldwide.