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17:41 | 2013-05-19


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Iranian Health Ministry on Alert over Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry has started an emergency response plan to fight coronavirus after the neighboring states confirmed cases of infection to the lethal virus, an official announced on Sunday, but meantime stressed that no case of infection with coronavirus has been reported in Iran yet.

"Those people who have traveled to the Persian Gulf littoral states and cough for more than 10 days are suspicious of being infected with coronavirus," Director of the Health Ministry's Department for Controlling Contagious Diseases Mohammad Mehdi Gouya told FNA.

He said the ministry is now on the alert for combat against the lethal virus, although "we have not had any case of infection with coronavirus in Iran yet".

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Iranian Health Minister Mohammad Hassan Tariqat Monfared dismissed media reports about the diagnosis of patients infected with coronavirus, and said no corona case has been reported in Iran yet.

"We have not had such reports yet or I haven't heard if there has been one," Tariqat Monfared told FNA yesterday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been informed of a global total of 38 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with novel coronavirus, including 20 deaths, from September 2012 to date, the UN health agency said earlier this month.

WHO said in its latest update that the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed WHO of an additional four laboratory-confirmed cases with infection of the novel coronavirus and one of them died.

Since the beginning of May to date, a total of 19 patients, including nine deaths have been reported from the outbreak primarily linked to a health care facility in the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, according to the WHO.

The Saudi government is conducting ongoing investigation into the outbreak, it said.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encouraged all member states to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

Health care providers were advised to be vigilant among recent travelers returning from areas affected by the virus who developed severe SARI.

It said that the WHO did not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor did it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.