Iran Confirms First 2 Cases Of COVID-19; ‘Diamond Princess’ Confirms 79 More Cases As Quarantine Ends

Tehran is not having a good year.
First, President Trump rang in the new decade by barbecuing the leader of the IRGC Quds Force. In response, Iran killed zero Americans but accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing nearly 200 people, including dozens of Iranian students, then they tried to lie about it, before finally coming clean.
All that was probably enough to destabilize the regime on its own. Though it has quieted down somewhat, the public outrage is still simmering as Iran’s rolling economic crisis continues.
Now, on top of all that, Tehran has confirmed to the AP that authorities have confirmed two cases of the coronavirus in Iran. That means the virus has now infiltrated two of the world’s most isolated states – Iran and North Korea. Many outsiders believe North Korea has confirmed at least one case of the virus, but that it has withheld this information from the international community to avoid inciting a panic.

Like North Korea, Iran’s battered economy, crippled by years of American sanctions, is hardly equipped to deal with the outbreak. According to Iranian media, the cases were confirmed in the central province of Qom. More patients are being tested as an unknown number of suspected cases have been isolated, according to the AP.
Last night in New York, we reported that Japanese health authorities were preparing to release the first batch of 500 passengers and crew who had reportedly tested negative for the virus (though that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility that a few of them might still develop symptoms caused by COVID-19).
On Wednesday morning in the US (so Wednesday night in Japan), health officials revealed that 79 more people onboard had tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of infected aboard the ship to 621, the AP reports.
As …
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