Coronavirus: Iran’s head of emergency medical services diagnosed with disease

Announcement comes on same day Iran’s supreme leader says troops could be used to help tackle outbreak 

Rory Sullivan
Tuesday 03 March 2020 13:30
Coronavirus: What we know so far

The head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Kolivand, has contracted coronavirus, the ILNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

Mr Kolivand’s “health is good and there is no need for concern”, his office said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Iran’s health ministry said that 77 Iranians had died from the illness so far and 2336 had tested positive for the virus.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also announced on Tuesday via state media that the country’s military was prepared to help health officials in tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

“Whatever helps public health and prevents the spread of the disease is good and what helps to spread it is sin,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Iranian authorities say they may mobilise 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to tackle the virus.

It is thought they could help to clean streets, direct traffic and possibly trace people who have come into contact with coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri told Iranian state television on Tuesday that 23 members of parliament have tested positive for the virus, recommending that lawmakers avoid the public.

This comes shortly after the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi on Monday, the most high-ranking official to die in the country so far.

According to Iranian state media, Mr Mirmohammadi was a confidant of Ayatollah Khamenei.

The illness has also killed a recently elected member of parliament as well as Hadi Khosroshahi, Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican.

Iran has the second highest coronavirus death toll after China.

Agencies contributed to this report

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