Iranian Deputy Health Minister Who Said They Had Coronavirus Under Control, Tests Positive for It, Had Been Briefing Ministers, Journos

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to a group of residents of the city of Qom, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Ayatollah Khamenei said “we slapped them (Americans) on the face last night” with a missile strike “but military action is not enough.” He spoke hours after the strike at military bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander in Baghdad. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

 

Coronavirus isn’t moving as one might historically think, one country rippling out to neighboring countries.

But given the ability to travel everywhere and the potentially long incubation period before people would necessarily know they have it, that’s a recipe for disaster.

We’re seeing an example of that now in Iran, where it appears to have developed in a concentrated outbreak and they can’t trace it back directly back to China.

Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, the head of country’s counter-coronavirus task force, has been briefing ministers and journalists on efforts to fight the virus. He had suggested that they had it under control, according to Forbes.

But he just tested positive for it, and is now quarantining himself.

But here’s the problem. Here he is yesterday with the government spokesman, briefing journalists, coughing and sweating excessively, without a mask. You can almost see him spreading it. He’s been interacting with and briefing people for days.

Now today, here’s that same government spokesman, looking sick without a mask, next to the industries minister, who is looking none too well either.

An MP has announced that he has it too, according to Buzzfeed.

According to Buzzfeed, there are 95 cases with 15 deaths in Iran. But people believe that Iran may not be being truthful about the extent of the illness and some neighboring countries are shutting their borders to prevent a spread. There was also a report of 50 dead in the town of Qom, which Haririchi denied.