*RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International*

Two patients have contracted the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, becoming the first cases in the country, Iranian authorities confirmed in Qoms on Wednesday.

"As Coronavirus is contagious, so there is a possibility for any country to deal with it. Some cases were seen in most countries around us. As we anticipated, it is now in our country. There are two cases in our country, their initial tests are positive and the final tests are in progress," said Ministry of Health and Medical Education Deputy Dr. Ghasem Jan Babayi.

The official stressed that the illness was not more fatal than the flu, with even some types of them being deadlier, but that luckily they had to deal with the cases later than other countries in the region, allowing them to arrange preventive measures.

"Fortunately, Qom University of Medical Sciences has separated one of the hospitals for such suspected patients who visited this hospital or show suspected symptoms. We have considered a separate hospital for this issue and the second hospital is on full standby. We have also provided the protective equipment and medication for patients and the personnel and there is no shortcoming in the province since," Dr. Ghasem Jan Babayi added.

The novel coronavirus death toll now tops 2,000, with more than 75,000 are infected worldwide.

*RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International*

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