- Iran's Supreme Leader announced this year he won’t be giving his annual Nowruz speech in the holy Shiite city of Mashhad.
- The increasing numbers of casualties each day in Iran suggest that the fight against the new coronavirus is still far from over.
- Indonesian health officials today reported the first death of a patient with Covid-19, a 53-year-old woman.
Iran announced the death of 63 more people infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) Wednesday, bringing the total to 354 dead in the country. Iran is one of the most affected countries in the world by the coronavirus epidemic. The Iranian authorities also identified 958 new cases of Covid-19 infection, bringing the total to about 9,000, according to a televised press conference by the spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Kianoush Jahanpour.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, said on Tuesday that Iran will recognize doctors and nurses who die combating the new coronavirus as “martyrs,” just like slain soldiers. The Iranian families of martyrs, typically from the security services and armed forces, normally receive payments and benefits from the state. It also bestows a sense of religious importance on those fighting the virus in the Shiite theocracy, which experts fear may be under-reporting the total number of cases.
Khamenei also made an announcement that this year, he won’t be giving his annual Nowruz speech in the holy Shiite city of Mashhad. The decision of the Supreme Leader comes in the context of a propaganda campaign that already tries to link the fight against the virus to the long and bloody Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. The increasing numbers of casualties each day in Iran suggest that the fight against the new coronavirus is still far from over.
The fact that the Revolutionary Guard is involved in the relief effort of a major catastrophe, like the one that is occurring in the country, is not surprising in Iran. The Guard, whose forces include about 125,000 soldiers and 600,000 mission-ready volunteers, routinely responds to earthquakes that rock the country. Recent floods have seen their troops mobilized as well. Its forces, which include virologists, faced chemical weapons during Iran’s eight-year war against Iraq.
The Covid-19 epidemic was detected in December in China, and has already claimed more than 4,200 deaths worldwide. Some 117,000 people have been infected in more than a hundred countries, and more than 63,000 have recovered.
Indonesia Reports First Death Due to Covid-19
Indonesian health officials today reported the first death of a patient with Covid-19, a 53-year-old woman. The Director General for Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health, Achmad Yurianto, said the patient, who had been the 25th case detected, died today after almost three days of treatment, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.
“The patient was admitted to the hospital in an already severe condition caused by preexisting illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroidism and years-long obstructive lung disease,” Achmad said. The infection with the new coronavirus worsened the patient’s immune system and her pre-existing diseases, so the virus “worsened her condition.”
Achmad Yurianto declined to reveal the patient’s nationality and the hospital where he was admitted. Indonesia has a total of 27 confirmed cases of coronavirus victims in the country.