World, Health

Head of Iran's disaster management contracts COVID-19

Ismail Najjar becomes one of many Iranian public officials fighting deadly virus

Mustafa Melih Ahishali   | 09.03.2020
Head of Iran's disaster management contracts COVID-19


Head of the Iran's state-run National Disaster Management Organization has tested positive for the coronavirus, local media reported on Monday. 

Ismail Najjar, who has been treated in the hospital for a few days, is recovering well and quarantined in his home on Monday, organization's spokesman Ali Bakhtiari told the semi-official ISNA news agency.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose to 194 on Sunday, the country's Health Ministry announced.

Authorities said 49 people died in the last 24 hours, while 743 new cases were found, pushing up the total number of confirmed cases to 6,566, spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a news conference in the capital Tehran.

Najjar became one of many public officials fighting the virus, including a vice president, dozens of members of parliament, and the deputy health minister.

First detected in Wuhan, China in December, the virus known as COVID-19 now is present in more than 90 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

The global death toll is over 3,800, with around 110,000 confirmed cases.

As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries including China, Iran and Italy.

After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency in January, the WHO last month updated the global risk level to “very high.”

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara.

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