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Member Of Austrian Delegation To Tehran Tests Positive For Coronavirus

An Austrian delegation headed by Austria's Foreign Minister visited Tehran on February 22 and met with Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. February 22, 2020

An Austrian newspaper on Thursday reported that a member of the Austrian Foreign Ministry delegation that visited Tehran on February 22 has contracted COVID-19 (coronavirus) and has been quarantined in a Vienna hospital.

Iran announced a coronavirus outbreak on February 19 with the first two deaths reported on the same day.

The Austrian delegation headed by Alexander Schallenberg, the Foreign Minister of Austria, met with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their stay in Tehran.

Before receiving the Austrian Foreign Minister at the Mirrors Hall of the Foreign Ministry, Iran's Foreign Minister joked with the present journalists and said he had to shake hands. "I'm not carrying coronavirus," he said laughing.

The unnamed Austrian member of the delegation had remained in Iran until Monday, February 24 by which time he already had some symptoms. Upon his return to Austria he sought medical advice by calling the health hotline but was not taken seriously and was several times told to go to his family doctor.

It was not until Thursday that he took his illness seriously as the typical symptoms of coronavirus including fever, dry coughs and shortness of breath got worse. After once again calling the health hotline and talking to an expert, a medical team immediately transferred him to the Kaiser Franz Joseph hospital under isolated conditions where he is being looked after now.

According to Austria's Kurier, the Austrian Foreign Ministry has not commented on the situation but said they will issue a statement at a later point.

Coronavirus has struck several high-profile people in Iran, including Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President in Women's Affairs, who has tested positive and quarantined herself at home. She had attended a cabinet meeting with the President on Wednesday.

During his visit to Tehran, the Austrian Foreign Minister and his Iranian counterpart conferred about a number of issues including non-proliferation, regional issues and coronavirus outbreak.