Iranian authorities confirmed on Wednesday two cases of the new coronavirus, the first in the country, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, saying also that there was an unspecified number of other suspected cases and that those individuals have been quarantined.
The report did not elaborate on the nationality of the two people infected by the virus or the state of their health. ISNA quoted an official in the country’s health ministry, Kiyanoush Jahanpour, as saying that “in the past two days, some suspected cases of the new coronavirus were found” in the central city of Qom.
Jahanpour did not say how many people were suspected of having the virus, which causes the illness recently named COVID-19. He said the two confirmed cases were detected in the central province of Qom.
“Subsequent tests are in progress and the results of these tests will be released to the public, once they are finalized,” he said. “Medical teams have been deployed in Qom and the suspected persons have been quarantined.”
The new virus emerged in China in December. Since then, more than 70,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.
The virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.
First detected in China, the virus is believed to have originated in a type of wild animal sold at a Chinese market to be consumed as food. Iran has applied safety measure on arrival flights at its airports to control a possible spread of the virus.