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Two Arrested In Iran For Spreading False Coronavirus News, Hospitals On Alert

Iranian Health Minister visits quarantine students returning from China. February 6, 2020.
Iranian Health Minister visits quarantine students returning from China. February 6, 2020.

Iran's Cyber Police officials on Thursday said two individuals who spread false news about coronavirus outbreak in Kurdestan and Hormozgan provinces have been arrested.

According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Ramin Pashaei, Social Deputy of Iran's Cyber Police (also known as FATA), has said that an individual who claimed that a coronavirus victim was hospitalized in Kurdestan Province in a video clip shared on social media has been arrested.

Colonel Pashaei told ISNA that health authorities in Kurdestan Province have refuted an outbreak of coronavirus. According to Pashaei, the alleged perpetrator has said that he only meant it as a joke.

"Spreading rumors in social media to cause public anxiety is a crime and Cyber Police will take legal action against perpetrators," the official was quoted as saying.

The Chief of Cyber Police of Hormozgan Province has also denied an outbreak in his province and said the person who was arrested for spreading the rumor has apologized for his wrong-doing.

On Thursday Mohammad-Mehdi Gouya, Head of Health Ministry's Contagious Diseases Management Center, said one of the two suspected coronavirus patients in Zanjan Province has been cleared but the other patient, a female Chinese national, is still in hospital. The result of tests done on this patient will be announced soon, he said.

Fifty-six Iranian students who on Wednesday were repatriated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have been quarantined since their arrival at an unspecified location near the capital Tehran.

According to Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeesi, eight hospitals in Tehran have been designated for patients suspected of carrying coronavirus as well as one hospital in each of Iran's 31 provinces. Raeesi on Wednesday said none of the patients in Iran who were suspected of carrying coronavirus have tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

The death toll in China has now risen to 564. Chinese authorities say they have ordered Wuhan to set up mass quarantine centers.