Iran is reporting two more deaths from the new virus that emerged in China and says the fatalities were from among 13 new confirmed cases of the virus in Iran.
The report on Friday by the semiofficial Mehr news agency came as Iranians voted in nationwide parliamentary elections. After authorities reported two earlier deaths this week, the death toll from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, stands at four.
So far, 18 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including the four who died.
The spokesman of the health ministry, Kianoush Jahanpour, said the newly detected cases are all linked with the city of Qom where the first two elderly patients died.
Jahanpour said the new cases were either from Qom or had visited the city recently. He said four of them are hospitalized in the capital, Tehran, and two in the northern province of Gilan.
Concerns over the spread of the virus, which originated in central China, prompted authorities in Iran to close all schools and Shiite seminaries in Qom.