The outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran is spreading at a rate faster than it can be contained. With over 190 casualties, the Middle Eastern nation is only behind China and Italy in the number of coronavirus-caused deaths. Even some of the nation's top officials, including Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, have been infected by the virus. Two officials have also died of it.
Now, a video shared on the official Twitter handle by an Iranian news channel shows the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Kianoush Jahanpour, exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus infection on a televised appearance, much like Harirchi.
Shows visible signs of possible infection
The clip made available on Twitter by the news channel, Al Hadath, shows the official exhibiting visible signs of sickness while giving the daily statement about the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Sweating continuously, the official can be seen reaching for a tissue to wipe the sweat off his forehead.
Throughout the duration of the clip, he can be seen dabbing the sweat on his forehead, and the rest of his face periodically. With sickly eyes and obvious indications of discomfort, he completed the briefing. Also, he is seen touching his nose and lips at regular intervals—a clear no-no according to the precautionary guidelines issued by WHO to prevent the spread of the infection.
Top lawmakers of Iran contract the disease
According to reports, over 20 members within Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's administration have been infected so far. Just days after Seyyed Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser to the Supreme Leader, succumbed to COVID-19, another Iranian lawmaker, Fatemeh Rahbar, became the latest casualty of the infection. Hossein Sheikholeslam, former ambassador to Syria, was another prominent official who died due to the infection.
Mahmoud Sadeghi, a member of the parliament, also tested positive for the viral infection. However, the most high profile of all authorities to be infected by the virus was Harirchi himself, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after a few television appearances where he could seen showing symptoms.
COVID-19 cases and related deaths rising in Iran
Outside China, South Korea has the highest number of confirmed cases—7,134. However, the death toll reported in Italy and Iran is much higher. Currently, the number of casualties in Iran stands at 194, with confirmed cases nearly touching 6,600. Hospitals in the country are also under tremendous pressure due to over-occupancy.
Ironically, it was Jahanpour who provided information related to the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in a recent televised news conference. "More than 16,000 people are currently hospitalized as suspect cases," he said.