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**RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International**

Iran’s Health Minister Saeid Namaki gave a statement in Tehran on Saturday amid confirmed coronavirus deaths and cases in the country.

Saeid Namaki talked about the procedures being carried by medical staff under World Health Organisation protocols, and commented on the delay to identify the deadly virus in patients in Qom.

“The cases in Qom, and regarding the reports received by our colleagues, none of them travelled to any infected country and based on their reports and what they believed, they did not have any contact with infected people,” said Namaki.

“Hence, our colleagues did not regard them as the coronavirus protocol in the first two, four days. Well, in some cases that our colleagues observed, they vehemently believed the checking process must be done under the coronavirus tests and they began these investigations. Unfortunately, two cases died in Qom and they were positive.”

Namaki also spoke about the investigation and measures put in place in the city of Araq, where another patient that had been in Qom was found to be infected with the virus, causing the government run tests on eight suspected cases.

“We realised that some of them who had contact with them travelled from Qom to other cities. For instance, we found an infected case in Araq who was a doctor who travelled from Qom to Araq. Although he was very sick, he is now getting better and in good condition. We carried out the sampling for eight cases in Araq and they were negative.”

According to reports, the number of deaths due to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has now reached five in Iran, while 28 are infected.

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