Two people have died in Iran after testing positive on Wednesday for the new coronavirus, the Iranian health ministry said, in the Islamic Republic’s first cases of the disease.
IRNA quoted Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to the country’s health minister, as saying that both of the victims had been carrying the coronavirus and were located in Qom, about 140 kilometers (86 miles) south of the capital Tehran. No additional details were released.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian authorities confirmed the first two cases of the virus, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
ISNA quoted an official in the country’s health ministry, Kiyanoush Jahanpour, as saying that “since the last two days, some suspected cases of the new coronavirus were found.”
The new virus emerged in China in December. Since then, more than 75,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.
The virus causes the illness that the World Health Organization recently named COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.
Iran has applied safety measure on arrival flights at its airports to control a possible spread of the virus.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, nine cases have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, seven of them Chinese nationals, one Indian and one Filipino, while Egypt’s Health Ministry confirmed its first case last Friday.