Iran deputy health minister tests positive for Covid-19 after sweating & coughing during coronavirus press briefing
At the press briefing, the minister had denied a claim by a MP that the authorities were engaged in a cover-up.
Iran’s deputy health minister and another MP have both tested positive for the new coronavirus disease.
Iraj Harirchi, the Iranian minister, who is a senior health official, said in a video that he was self-isolating and starting medication.
He was previously seen mopping his brow repeatedly at a news conference in Tehran on Monday, Feb. 24, when he denied the authorities were lying about the scale of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Beside him at the news conference was government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
In a self-made video released on Tuesday, Feb. 25, Harirchi admitted that he too had Covid-19.
?حریرچی: من هم کرونایی شدم، حتما کرونا را شکست می دهیم. pic.twitter.com/O0zsfDwgAS
— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) February 25, 2020
The video was broadcast on state television, and the deputy minister put on a brave face as he admitted he was infected.
“I had a fever as of last night and my preliminary test was positive around midnight,” he said.
“I’ve isolated myself in a place since… and now I am starting medication.
“We will definitely be victorious against this virus in the next few weeks,” the minister added.
He had coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweat heavily during the press conference.
During the briefing, the minister had denied a claim by a member of parliament for the city at the centre of Iran’s outbreak that the authorities were engaged in a cover-up.
Ahmad Amirabadi-Farahani alleged that Covid-19 had arrived in Qom three weeks ago and that 50 people had died in the city alone.
Harirchi rejected the death toll and even vowed to resign if it could be proven that even half that number had died.
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.
An Iranian MP also tested positive for Covid-19
An Iranian parliamentarian representing Tehran has also tested positive.
“My corona test is positive… I don’t have a lot of hope of continuing life in this world,” Mahmoud Sadeghi wrote on Twitter.
In the same message, he called on the head of Iran’s judiciary to release political prisoners to prevent them from getting infected and to allow them to spend the duration of the outbreak with their families.