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01 Mar 2020 | 07:57 PM UTC

Iran: Health ministry announces nearly 1000 COVID-19 cases March 1 /update 9

Ministry of Health officials confirm 978 cases of COVID-19 on March 1; further spread of the virus expected

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IRN

Event

The Iranian Ministry of Health confirmed 978 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) including 54 associated fatalities as of Sunday, March 1. However, international media outlets are reporting significantly higher case and fatality rates in Iran; according to sources at local hospitals there have been at least 210 deaths. 

A government official reported the highest number of cases in Tehran, although the epicenter of the outbreak is the holy city of Qom. Authorities have not imposed a lockdown on either city but are maintaining strict control over entry and exit to the holy city, in addition to asking individuals to avoid public places and to not travel within the country.

Further international spread of the virus and associated business and transportation disruptions are expected in the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue; throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.