Iran raises its death toll to 19 amid 139 coronavirus cases


Iranian state television says 19 people have been killed by the new coronavirus amid 139 confirmed cases in the country so far

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —
Iran’s president said Tehran has no immediate plans to quarantine cities over the new coronavirus rapidly spreading across the country, even as the Islamic Republic suffers the highest death toll outside of China with 19 killed amid 139 cases confirmed on Wednesday.

President Hassan Rouhani went on to acknowledge that may take “one, two or three weeks” to get control of the virus in Iran, linked to most of the over 160 confirmed cases of the virus now spread across the Mideast. That comes after the top official in charge of Iran’s response to the coronavirus tested positive for the illness after a day earlier trying to downplay the disease.

Still, Rouhani sought to portray the virus crisis in terms of Iran’s tense relations with the U.S.

“Coronavirus must not be turned into a weapon for our enemies to halt work and production in our country,” Rouhani said, according to a transcript posted to the Iranian presidency’s website.

Iranian state television reported Wednesday that 19 people have been killed by the new coronavirus amid 139 confirmed cases in the country so far.

The announcement on Wednesday by a state TV anchor came as Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour urged Iranians to avoid “nonessential travel,” particularly to the hard-hit provinces of the country such as Gilan and Qom.



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