Iranian death toll from Covid is three times higher than admitted, report says | World news


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Most of the rules were lifted in May to mitigate the damage to the sanctions-strapped Iranian economy. Activity resumed gradually throughout the month in mosques, parks, shrines and restaurants, and cases started to soar again.

There have been lingering doubts about the reliability of Iran’s official toll throughout the pandemic, including in its early months when satellite imagery showed authorities were building mass graves in the city of Qom, l one of the first places in the country to be overwhelmed by the virus.

At the time, the city’s official death toll was around 12, which an Iranian lawmaker at the time said was false, saying he was aware of at least 50 dead. BBC data indicates that Qom is the worst-affected city in Iran, with around 1,419 dead, or one per 1,000 residents.

A video surfaced in April, believed to be from a morgue in Qom, showing exhibits lined with the bodies of Covid-19 victims, one of the workers in the footage who claimed to have been there for five or six days.

Another sign of the scale of the epidemic came last month when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cited a Health Ministry study that found 25 million people in the country could have been infected, with 35 million additional risk of contracting the virus in the next. month.

The figures published by the BBC proportionally reflect the curve of official statistics but are significantly higher.

The country’s health minister, Saeed Namaki, criticized Iranians for not following social distancing guidelines.

A trader from northern Qazvin province said hospitals and medical centers in his area were crowded and masks were rarely worn.

“The only precautions the government has put in place are that you cannot walk into a government office, bank or medical clinic without a mask, and that’s it,” Ashkan Rahimi, 32, told The Guardian. .

“Most people are ashamed to reveal that they are carriers of the virus. My grandmother was sick a few days ago and I took her to a clinic… the doctor told me to take a coronavirus test, but I didn’t – I just left the clinic. It was too crowded.

Iranians wearing face masks wait in line outside a cattle market in Hakimieh. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA

Sara Amiri, a medical researcher from the city of Tabriz, considered to be in the most affected “red” category, accused the US sanctions of shortages of drugs and disinfectants. “Hospitals are overcrowded, there is a lack of intensive care beds in the province and health workers are tired,” she said.

“Drugs like cefixime and azithromycin can be found, but drugs like Chloroquine and Tamiflu, which critically ill patients need, cannot be found, and people are getting them at very high prices. on the black market. ”

The virus has hit several senior Iranian officials, including a vice president, the deputy health minister and most recently government spokesman Ali Rabiei.

The epidemic is one of several crises to trouble the Islamic Republic at a time when it was supposed to mark 40 years since its founding after the Iranian revolution of 1979. According to the World Bank, its economy is expected to stabilize this year, but is expected to now retreat 6%.


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