DUBAI: An outbreak of novel coronavirus has affected almost all of Iran’s provinces, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday (Mar 4), according to the official presidency website.
“This disease is a widespread disease,” he said during a cabinet meeting. “It has reached almost all our provinces and in one sense it’s a global disease.”
Iran’s health ministry on Tuesday announced 92 people had died from coronavirus, one of the highest death tolls outside China where the outbreak originated. It said 2,922 people had been infected with coronavirus.
READ: What is the real size of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran?
READ: COVID-19: Singapore widens travel restrictions as minister warns of need to prepare for spikes in cases
Rouhani said Iran would get through the outbreak with minimum deaths and in the shortest period of time with the skills of its doctors and nurses.
Rouhani also took a jab at an American offer to help with the coronavirus outbreak without mentioning the United States directly.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States had offered to help Iran with the outbreak.
“They’ve appeared with a mask of sympathy that ‘we also want to help the people of Iran’,” Rouhani said. “If you are really telling the truth, then lift sanctions from medicine.”
US President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and reimposed sanctions which have hammered Iran’s economy.
US officials have said that the sanctions do not target medicine for Iran, a point that Iranian officials dispute.
Several Iranian officials have been infected with coronavirus since the outbreak was first announced two weeks ago and one senior official died on Monday.
Video aired on state TV of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting showed Rouhani and ministers in a larger room than the usual venue for the weekly meeting.