- The President used the number to urge Iranian citizens to take the pandemic seriously.
- Neither the President nor other official sources explained on what estimates the study cited is based.
- Iran initially denied there was an outbreak, amid elections and demonstrations celebrating the Islamic Revolution.
The President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has today admitted that 25 million Iranians may have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February. The Iranian president relied on a study by the Iranian Ministry of Health to arrive at the high figures.
At the same time, the President used the number to urge Iranian citizens to take the pandemic seriously, and keep on observing safety measures to halt the spread of the pandemic. The President elaborated that more than 200,000 people are in hospital and that the ministry expects that number to double in the coming months.
“Our estimate is that until now 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus and about 14,000 have lost their dear lives,” Rouhani said in the speech. “There is the possibility that between 30 and 35 million other people will be at risk.”
Neither the President nor other official sources explained on what estimates the study cited is based, which was not made available to the public. However, Rouhani’s statements demonstrate that the Iranian authorities acknowledge that the numbers that have so far been made public greatly fall short of the reality on the ground.
Rouhani also predicts that, soon, the number of hospitalizations will soon be “twice as many as what the country has witnessed in the last 150 days.” The Iranian capital, Tehran, has, as of today, new restrictions, in response to the serious increase in cases in recent weeks. The restrictions include the closure of public spaces such as cafes, zoos, and indoor pools.
Iran was the scene of the most serious outbreak in the Middle East region, with more than 270,000 confirmed cases and close to 14,000 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 2,166 new cases and 188 deaths have been reported in the country according to records by the Iranian Ministry of Health.
A parliamentary report released in April admitted that, given the lack of testing, the number of infected people in Iran could be “eight to ten times” higher than what had been reported. Iran officially registered the first cases of COVID-19 in February.
The local authorities initially denied that the virus had circulated in the country days before that, when there were elections and mass demonstrations on the subject of 41st anniversary of the revolution.
The number of deaths by COVID-19 in Iran is based on deaths registered in hospitals, but the truth is that many people have died at home. At the same time, many families are asking doctors not to disclose the causes of death due to the pandemic to avoid social stigma.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has caused more than 590,000 deaths and infected more than 13.83 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report prepared by the French news agency, AFP. The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.
After Europe overtook China as the epicenter of the pandemic in February, the American continents are currently the ones with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.