WHO says coronavirus entered Iran 'unseen and undetected'

WHO says coronavirus entered Iran 'unseen and undetected'
© Getty Images

A top World Health Organization (WHO) official on Thursday said that the coronavirus outbreak in Iran could be more widespread than is currently known.

In only two weeks, Iran has reported 270 cases of the virus and 34 deaths, the most in the world outside of mainland China — where the outbreak began.

“This disease came unseen and undetected into Iran, so the extent of infection may be broader than what we may be seeing,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergency program, said Thursday at a news conference in Geneva, CNBC reports.


When outbreaks start, Ryan said, “you only see the severe end of the spectrum and then as you do more surveillance you find more mild cases. I suspect this has more to do with surveillance and detection of cases at this point.”

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump steps up Iran fight in final election stretch MORE showed concern on Tuesday that Iran might be purposely holding back “vital details” and urged all countries to “tell the truth about the coronavirus."

Iran isn't the only country to be faced with renewed outbreaks of the virus. South Korea has reported over 2,300 confirmed cases, the most outside of China.

The U.S. has 60 reported cases as of Friday with no deaths.