Deputy Health Minister of Iran, Iraj Harirchi, has been infected with Coronavirus, an official said on Tuesday.

According to AFP, there has been a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.

“The Coronavirus test for Mr Harirchi, the deputy health minister, who was on the front lines combating the scourge, was positive,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet.

Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference on Monday with government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei.

At the conference, Harirchi denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people had died from the virus in the city of Qom, saying he would “resign” if the number proves true.

Iran confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections on Tuesday, taking the country’s overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95.

The country has been hit by the deadliest Coronavirus outbreak outside China.

According to the health ministry, most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are among people, who had recently visited the holy city.

The ministry’s spokesperson, 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 appeared to be spreading to new parts of Iran, as one new case was also reported in each of the provinces of Fars and Khorasan Razavi, as well as Qeshm Island.

Despite being Iran’s epicentre of the outbreak, Qom is yet to be quarantined.

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