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the coronavirus crisis

Head of Iran's coronavirus task force tests positive for the virus

Iran's deputy health minister, who has been in charge of the country's coronavirus task force, has now tested positive for the coronavirus.

Authorities announced Iraj Harirchi's diagnosis on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports, with this coming just a day after he participated in a news conference that had sparked questions about his health. The AP notes that during that conference, Harirchi tried to minimize the virus' threat.

A ministry spokesperson says Harirchi started experiencing symptoms on Monday before holding that press conference, and later that day, he was diagnosed, The New York Times reports.

Iran has become the "second focal point after China for the spread of the disease," the Times notes, with cases in countries from Iraq to the United Arab Emirates having been traced back to Iran. Iran has confirmed 15 deaths and 95 coronavirus cases.

In a speech on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assured, "We will get through corona. We will get through the virus."