Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi has tested positive for coronavirus, a ministry official said on Tuesday.
“The coronavirus test for Mr. Harirchi, the deputy health minister who was on the front lines combating the coronavirus, was positive,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet.
According to Aljazeera, Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
At the conference, Harirchi denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people have died from the virus in the Shiite shrine city of Qom, saying he would “resign” if the number proves true”.
Iran also confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections, taking the country’s overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95.
According to the health ministry, most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are among people who have recently visited the holy city.
The ministry’s spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 16 of the new cases were confirmed in Qom, while nine were in Tehran, and two each in Alborz, Gilan, and Mazandaran.
The virus has now infected more than 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.