Islamabad, 26 February 2020 – Mudasser Chudhary:
“I had a fever as of last night and my preliminary test was positive around midnight,” Deputy minister, Iraj Harirchi said in a video released on Tuesday.
“I’ve isolated myself in a place since… and now I am starting medication.
“We will definitely be victorious against this virus in the next few weeks,” the minister added.
“We’ll defeat corona. Be assured. I’m saying this deep from my heart. This virus is democratic, and it doesn’t distinguish between poor and rich or statesman and an ordinary citizen,” the minister added.
Mr Harirchi’s positive test for Covid-19 was announced a day after he took part in a news conference, where he coughed occasionally and appeared to sweat heavily.
During the briefing, the minister denied a claim by a member of parliament for Qom – the centre of the outbreak – that the authorities were engaged in a cover-up.
Ahmad Amirabadi-Farahani alleged that Covid-19 had arrived in Qom three weeks ago and that 50 people had died in the city alone.
The death toll was rejected by Mr Harirchi, who vowed to resign if it could be proven that even half that number had died.
Mr Amirabadi-Farahani subsequently refused to retract his claim, saying he had sent a list of 40 people who had died to the minister and awaited his resignation.
More than 80,000 cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease have been reported worldwide since it emerged late last year. About 2,700 patients have died – the vast majority in China.