Coronavirus Reuters

Iran’s senior Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, and two other Cabinet members have contracted the new coronavirus, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency.

The report comes amid days of speculation about the health of Jahangiri, who has not been seen in pictures of recent top-level meetings, raising concerns about him.

There was no immediate report on state media about the Iranian officials being ill and no other media outlet in Iran immediately carried the report. Fars published it in a picture list of names in Farsi, with Jahangiri’s name at the top, saying he was in quarantine and improving, without elaborating.

Fars said the others sick are Ali Asghar Mounesan, minister of cultural heritage, handcrafts and tourism, and Reza Rahmani, minister of industry, mines and business.

Iran has been hit hard by the coronavirus. On Sunday, it reported 49 new deaths from the virus in 24 hours, the highest toll within one day since the start of the outbreak in the country.

There have several been high-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus. These include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament who died on Saturday.

On Wednesday, according to AP, Iranian authorities announced that there were some 9,000 confirmed cases of the virus across Iran.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.