TEHRAN: Medical officials have assured that Iran will, in the near future, rein in the spread of a flu-like virus originating from China, and that conditions of most of the patients diagnosed with the new coronavirus have improved.
Ali Akbar Velayati, head of Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, said at a press conference on Monday that the task of responding to the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 — is no harder than that of tackling an influenza epidemic in the country, which has been brought under control.
“Given the measures being taken to control the disease, we will have better news in the coming days and there is no reason for concern,” he said, assuring that there will soon be a decline in the spread of the epidemic and “the disease will be contained.”
He also said that the Masih Daneshvari Hospital is standing at the forefront of the country’s fight against the epidemic, noting that 50 percent of the 104 suspected coronavirus cases hospitalized at the facility either have fully recovered or are recovering.
Old patients and those suffering from diabetes and kidney problems are more vulnerable, said Velayati, who is also an advisor to Iran’s Leader.
The virus first emerged in China late last year and is now spreading in Europe and across the Middle East, giving rise to fears of a global pandemic. In Iran, the first cases and deaths were reported in the holy city of Qom — a major destination for Muslim pilgrims from across the world.
As of Monday, 12 people had died and 61 infected with the new coronavirus nationwide, most of Qom, according to official figures.
On Tuesday morning, Abbas Nikravesh, head of Saveh University Of Medical Science, reported two more deaths from the virus, bringing the toll to 14.
Most patients recovering
Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Mohammad Mehdi Gooya, the director of the Health Ministry’s Center for Prevention of Infectious Diseases, also stressed that most of those infected with the coronavirus were showing signs of recovery.
“Fortunately, the majority of the patients have been recovering after receiving medical services involving modern diagnostic and treatment approaches,” he said.
Over the past week, he added, more than 1,700 people have been tested for the virus in five specialized laboratories equipped with diagnostic equipment.
Almost two dozen patients discharged in Qom
Mohammad Tavakoli, a representative of the health minister in Qom, said 320 people suspected of having been infected have been hospitalized.
He added that 21 coronavirus patients had recovered and were released from hospital.
A health worker disinfects a bus in Qom, Iran, on February 24, 2020 as a prevention measure to curb the spread of a new coronavirus. (Photo by Tasnim)
IRGC offers assistance to health sector
During a telephone conversation with Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Monday, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) expressed the elite military force’s preparedness to help fight the outbreak.
The IRGC is “ready to offer any assistance to the institutions and organizations in charge of combating the coronavirus and preventing the spread of the disease,” Major General Hossein Salami said.
In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, over 80,150 people have been infected in as many as 30 countries, with more than 2,700 deaths mostly reported in the East Asian country since December 2019, 2019.
It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It may also worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.