Two Iranian patients infected with the new COVID-19 virus have died in a hospital in the holy Shi'ite city of Qom, the head of the city's University of Medical Sciences told the Mehr news agency on February 19.
The official said the two "died of respiratory illness" after previously testing positive for the virus.
Their deaths were confirmed by Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, the ISNA news agency quoted Jahanpour as saying that “some suspected cases of the new coronavirus were found” over the past two days.
He said the two confirmed cases were detected in the central province of Qom where the recent fatalities took place.
“Medical teams have been deployed in Qom and the suspected persons have been quarantined," he added.
Iran has applied safety measures on arrival flights at its airports to control a possible spread of the virus.
The new virus emerged in China in December. Since then, almost 75,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.