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Iran Reports at Least 16 Dead From Coronavirus

Iran's latest report on the coronavirus is that 16 people have died from the epidemic as of Tues. 25 Feb. 2020. Meanwhile, Iranians worry that authorities could be underestimating the scale of the outbreak. Iran has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China, where the virus emerged in late 2019. Among the infected was the deputy health minister, who tested positive for coronavirus, state media said. "Among those who had been suspected of the virus, 35 (new cases) have been confirmed. He said 95 people had been infected across Iran. Some unconfirmed reports gave a higher death toll. Worried that official numbers could underestimate the scale of Iran's outbreak, many Iranians took to social media to accuse authorities of concealing facts. Popular anger has been high for months over the handling of a Ukrainian passenger plane crash in January, which the military took three days to admit was caused by an Iranian missile fired in error. The incident revived anti-government protests that rocked the country in November against a hike in fuel prices, which swiftly turned political with calls for Iran's rulers to step down before authorities cracked down. The head of Qom's Medical Science University, Mohammad Reza Ghadir, expressed concern over "the spread of those people infected by the virus across the city," adding the Health Ministry had banned releasing figures linked to the coronavirus. Authorities ordered the nationwide cancellation of concerts and soccer matches and the closure of schools and universities in many provinces and have urged Iranians to stay home. Iran said on Monday 900 cases were suspected, dismissing claims by a lawmaker from the holy Shi'ite city of Qom who said 50 people had died in the city, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak. Six Arab countries reported their first cases, with those infected all having links to Iran. Kuwait said this week the number of infected people there had risen to eight. Bahrain said it had eight cases, four were Saudi nationals and two Bahrainis. (VFI News)

Pray that the government agencies would have wisdom and skill in containing the epidemic. Pray for scientists and biomedical engineers to quickly invent a way to cure and immunize against this new virus.