On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Iran became the latest country to report fatalities due to the deadly novel coronavirus, officially called Covid-19 infection. Two elderly people died of the virus at the Iranian holy city of Qom. This is the first coronavirus deaths reported in the Middle-East, while UAE is the first country to confirm a case.
Iran reports first coronavirus fatality in Middle-East
"Two elderly people have died due to coronavirus in the city of Qom, south of Tehran", Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran's health minister, told Al Jazeera. "The two victims had suffered acute lung infections due to their infection with the coronavirus", he added.
Both the deceased didn't travel abroad, hence contracted the disease from another infected person in Iran. The country hadn't confirmed any coronavirus cases, prior to the latest fatalities. Meanwhile, city's schools and colleges have been directed to remain shut and emergency units have been set up to prevent the communicable disease from spreading.
"We urge people to avoid shaking hands and kissing, to observe personal hygiene and preferably avoid crowded places", said Qasem Jan-Babaei, Iran's deputy Health Minister, on Wednesday. "There have been no reports of coronavirus in other cities so far, but there is a possibility that cases may also arise in other cities", he added.
Other than Iran, UAE and Egypt are the other countries in the region to report coronavirus cases, with UAE reporting the first case in the Middle-East.
Coronavirus: Latest cases and fatalities in China
On Wednesday, mainland China reported 114 deaths and 394 new cases of the disease. Thus, the number of confirmed cases in the mainland soured to 74,576; and the number of fatalities climbing up to 2,118, Global Times reported.
China's hard-hit Hubei province, that has served as the epicenter of the epidemic, reported 349 new cases and 108 fatalities.
Outside Hubei, cases have declined for the 16th consecutive day, Global Times reported.