Iran’s Official Virus Death Toll Nears 6,000, May Be Higher

By Azadeh Karimi


The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 infected 90,481 people and claimed 5,710 lives in Iran as of April 26, according to the Spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Medical Sciences Kiyanoush Jahanpour.

Mr. Jahanpour made the comments in a remote video press briefing that day.

“According to reports from various medical schools and labs, 1,153 new coronavirus infections have been identified in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 90,481,” Jahanpour was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency as saying. “COVID-19 claimed 60 more lives in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 5,710.”

“The lab report also said that 69,657 people have recovered from coronavirus so far, which is 75 percent of all those who were infected,” Jahanpour noted. “There are also 3,079 people in critical condition. They are receiving good care, and we hope they will get better soon.”

“Some 421,313 COVID-19 tests have been administered in 126 labs in the country to date,” Jahanpour added. “Close to 2.27 million industrial units and businesses have registered with the, most of them in provinces of Tehran (north of central plateau), Isfahan (central) and Khorasan Razavi (northeast).”

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According to official figures, Iran has the eighth-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world after the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and Turkey. It also has the seventh-highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world after the US, Italy, Spain, France, the UK, and Germany.

Many people, however, believe the actual number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Iran is much higher than the official figure. They are skeptical of the periodic progress report and data released by the Ministry of Health and Medical Sciences and the National Headquarters for Fighting Coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the Iranian Minister of Health and Medical Sciences Dr. Saeed Namaki took part in the second regional video conference of the World Health Organization (WHO), during which he announced that the daily coronavirus infection in Iran had dropped by 53 percent since the group’s first meeting 18 days earlier.

“Since our first meeting 18 days ago on April 2, the daily number of coronavirus cases and deaths have, respectively, dropped by 53 percent and 30 percent,” IRNA quoted Dr. Namaki as saying. “However, during the same period, the total number of people with COVID-19 in the country rose from 50,468 to more than 84,000.”

“The WHO must speak out against unilateral and illegal sanctions and advocate the equal rights of every nation to have access to medicine and vaccine,” Dr. Namaki noted. “I ask the WHO’s regional director [for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari] to urge all member countries to combine the annual meeting of their respective Health Ministries, aimed at strengthening their capabilities, with the Primary Health Care (PCH) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) schemes, with special emphasis on battling COVID-19.”

In a remote video press briefing on April 22, the head of the Tehran Emergency Department Peyman Saberian said the city’s emergency services had received 30,000 calls a day since the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have seen a drop in the volume of our pre-hospitalization emergency services,” Mr. Saberian was quoted by the Mehr News Agency as saying. “However, an increasing number of people we help are in critical condition and are transferred directly from the ambulance to the ICU [intensive care unit].”

“Our warehouses were well-stocked with medical equipment and supplies before the coronavirus outbreak,” Saberian explained. “Despite a personnel shortage, we had plenty of supplies of emergency kits. We received 30,000 calls a day after the coronavirus outbreak. We handled them well.”

“The results of CT scans for 72 of our colleagues in the Tehran Emergency Department came out positive,” Saberian noted. “We are also keeping several others who have shown symptoms under observation.”

“Sadly, one of our colleagues has died from COVID-19,” Saberian added.

During a cabinet meeting on April 22, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lambasted people who questioned the accuracy of the government’s coronavirus reports and figures.

“These claims are childish thoughts promoted by a small minority who take their cues from people outside Iran. They are mouthpieces for foreigners,” Mr. Rouhani was quoted by IRNA as saying. “They question the accuracy of the reports, the treatment, and our progress.”

“They complain all the time,” Rouhani added.

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.

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