Iran’s deputy health minister has tested positive for the new coronavirus disease, as it struggles to contain an outbreak that has killed 15 people.

In a video, Iraj Harirchi said he was self-isolating and starting medication following his diagnosis. He was seen mopping his brow repeatedly at a news conference on Monday, when he denied the authorities were lying about the scale of the Covid-19 outbreak. They have reported 95 cases, but the actual number is thought to be higher. The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the sudden increase in cases in the country is “deeply concerning”.

How many confirmed cases of coronavirus are there in Iran?

At the moment the death toll stands at 15 and the number of cases identified at 95. The death toll was rejected by Mr Harirchi, who vowed to resign if it could be proven that even half that number had died. Mr Amirabadi-Farahani subsequently refused to retract his claim, saying he had sent a list of 40 people who had died to the minister and awaited his resignation. The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani, said on Tuesday that he had asked the prosecutor-general to “check the validity” of the MP’s allegation.


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