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Iran Guards' Commander Offers Government Assistance In Combating Coronavirus

Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami says the Guards can help health authorities to prevent spread of coronavirus.

Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Brigadier General Hossein Salami on Monday offered assistance in combating COVID-19 coronavirus to Health Minister Saeed Namaki.

In a phone call to the Health Minister on Monday Salami said the IRGC was prepared "for any assistance to the organizations and authorities in charge of combating coronavirus and preventing its spread," the Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Tasnim News Agency reported.

According to the report, Brigadier General Salami pointed out that the Guard's Basij paramilitary force had the "very successful" experience of regularly helping with the implementation of the National Polio Vaccination Plan.

The paramilitary force is prepared to implement educational plans for prevention of coronavirus and all the medical facilities of the Guards, including its medical university, hospitals and healthcare facilities will be available for services "until conditions get back to normal", he said.

On Sunday Iranian news agencies reported that the Ministry of Defense has produced coronavirus test kits. The Health Ministry, however, has not commented on the effectiveness of these kits.

Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) have described the outbreak in Iran as "very worrisome". According to Iranian Health Ministry officials, WHO has so far sent four shipments of coronavirus test kits to Iran.

WHO is concerned about the potential spread of the virus from Iran to countries with weaker health systems.

Several cases outside the country including one in Canada another in Lebanon, three in Afghanistan and one in Iraq have been linked to the outbreak in Iran. Iranian officials announced the first cases of the respiratory disease on last week and within hours reported two deaths in the central city of Qom, a pilgrimage destination for Shiites in Iran and abroad.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.