Iran cleric urges people to visit Qom religious site despite coronavirus fears
Iranian women stand in line at the Masoumeh shrine in Qom, about 120 kilometres south of Tehran on Friday, June 12, 2009. (AP)
February 26, 2020
The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the city of Qom called on Iranians to visit the city’s main religious site, calling it a “place of healing,” despite the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
“We consider this holy shrine to be a place of healing. That means people should come here to heal from spiritual and physical diseases,” said cleric Mohammad Saeedi.
Saeedi is the head of the Fatima Masumeh shrine, Qom’s main Shia holy site.
He opposed closing down the shrine due to the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
“This place should remain open, and the people should strongly attend,” Saeedi said. “Of course, we also exercise caution and comply with health and safety procedures.”
Nineteen people have died and 139 people have been infected by coronavirus in Iran, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Wednesday in an announcement on state TV.
Qom’s representative in the Iranian parliament, however, had said on Monday that 50 people had died of coronavirus in his city alone.
Iran has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China, where the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.