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Chief Of Iran's Crisis Management Quarantined Due To Coronavirus

Esmail Najjar, Head of Iran's Crisis Management Organization has contracted COVID-19. FILE PHOTO

The chief of Iran's Crisis Management Organization is infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and is now in self-seclusion after several days of treatment in hospital.

The Crisis management Organization is a body affiliated to the Interior Ministry and is in charge of prevention and management of crises including natural disasters and outbreaks of contagious diseases.

Speaking to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Ali Bakhtiari, the spokesman of the organization, said the absence of Esmail Najjar in the meetings for containing the coronavirus epidemic is due to his illness.

"He has symptoms similar to flu symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized but after relative improvement in his conditions and doctors' approval, he was released from the hospital this morning. He will need to be in self-seclusion for a few days at home," Bakhtiari said.

The spokesman of the Crisis Management Organization also said the deputies of the organization have been coordinating with the head of the organization by telephone and managing the situation .

The deepening coronavirus crisis in Iran has taken the lives of several prominent political and religious leaders including two newly-elected lawmakers, several high-profile clerics, and three former and current members of the Revolutionary Guard. Many more including a Deputy Health Minister, a vice-president, and at least 20 lawmakers have tested positive or fallen ill with coronavirus so far.

The latest official death toll announced by the Ministry of Health on Sunday stood at 194 for the country, not including Tehran, Qom and Gilan, the three most-affected provinces. The Health Ministry announced the number of infected people in each province of the country but not the death toll.

Many say the high rate of coronavirus casualties among the country's elite is an indication of a much higher infection and death toll. Some local officials have questioned the official death toll.