13 more coronavirus cases confirmed in Iran, two new deaths ahead of elections

13 more coronavirus cases confirmed in Iran, two new deaths ahead of elections
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Iran has confirmed 13 new cases of the coronavirus within its borders, bringing their total count of infections to 18. 

Health Minister Saeed Nemaki told IRNA News, Iran’s state-run news agency, that there were also two new deaths from the virus, bringing the death toll up to four. 

The majority of the cases in Iran have been in the city of Qom, a Shiite Muslim holy city, where seven cases were found. Qom is 75 miles south of Tehran, the nation’s capital, where health officials also found four cases. The other two new cases are in Gilan province.

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

The Iranian government has resorted to canceling religious events in Qom in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“According to existing reports, the corona virus transmission from Qom has started and due to the traffic of people now traveling to many cities of the country including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and Other cities have arrived and may exist in all Iranian cities. Therefore, public care and education is a serious necessity for controlling the disease and the public education campaign in the country's media must be seriously formed,” Mohrez said.

Their neighboring country's biggest airline, Iraqi Airways, suspended flights to Iran, a country already plagued by Western sanctions, to prevent the spread of disease. 

The virus originated in China, a close ally of Iran, and has killed over 2,100 people there.