Coronavirus kills two in Iran

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. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 February 2020

Coronavirus kills two in Iran

  • Authorities did not say how many people were suspected of having the virus
  • The two confirmed cases were detected in the central province of Qom

TEHRAN: Two people have died in Iran after testing positive on Wednesday for the new coronavirus, the health ministry said, in the Islamic republic's first cases of the disease.
They are also the first deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the Middle East and only the seventh and eighth outside China where the outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people.
State news agency IRNA quoted Kianoush Jahanpour, a ministry spokesman, as saying the virus was detected in two elderly people with immunity problems in the city of Qom, south of the Iranian capital.
"Following the recent cases of chronic respiratory diseases in Qom, two of the patients tested positive in preliminary tests," it quoted him as saying.
"Unfortunately both passed away in the intensive care unit due to old age and issues with their immune system."
The state news agency had earlier quoted Jahanpour as saying that the "new coronavirus" had been confirmed in two people and that other suspected cases were isolated.
IRNA also quoted a media adviser to Iran's health minister as saying two people had died after testing positive for the coronavirus.
"Both of the people who had tested positive for coronavirus were in Qom and were old. Both have passed away," said Alireza Vahabzadeh.


Israeli security agency says it arrested alleged Iran spy

Updated 07 April 2020

Israeli security agency says it arrested alleged Iran spy

  • The Shin Bet alleged in a statement the man was in contact with Iranian agents abroad, where he was given money, guidance and encryption tools
  • Israel and Iran are bitter enemies who have long fought a shadow war that over the last year has increasingly spilled out into the open

JERUSALEM: Israel’s domestic security agency said Tuesday it arrested an Israeli citizen alleged to have spied for Iran.
The Shin Bet alleged in a statement the man was in contact with Iranian agents abroad, where he was given money, guidance and encryption tools.
The Shin Bet said the man was expected to provide information on strategic Israeli sites, ways to promote division in Israeli society, carry out attacks against Israeli targets and enlist Arab citizens of Israel to assist Iran.
The man, whose identity was barred from publication by an Israeli court, was arrested last month and indicted Tuesday for “serious security-related offenses.”
The Shin Bet said the arrest highlights Iranian efforts “to carry out spy and terror activity within Israel, this also at a time when the world is facing the coronavirus epidemic which has badly spread in Iran.”
Iran is facing the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East. Iran’s state TV said Tuesday the new coronavirus has killed another 133 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,872 amid 62,589 confirmed cases.
Israel and Iran are bitter enemies who have long fought a shadow war that over the last year has increasingly spilled out into the open. And although both countries are occupied with fighting COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus, hostilities between them remain.