- Published: Wednesday, 17 June 2020
As different provinces and cities across Iran have been plunged into the novel coronavirus crisis, the authorities still attempt to style the country’s condition as normal. However, several health officials have leaked a part of reality.
According to Abdolreza Fazel, the president of the medical sciences university of Golestan province, northern Iran, the condition of five cities in Golestan province is critical. “The entire province will enter the stage of a critical condition if the number of coronavirus patients, who have been hospitalized in the province’s medical centers, reaches the 850 marks,” Fazel said.
Local people also reported that in the past two weeks, 496 people have been hospitalized in Golestan due to infection with the coronavirus. On June 17, the state-run Tasnim news agency revealed, “57 percent of Golestan’s population has been infected with the coronavirus so far.”
President of the Lorestan Medical Sciences University Mohammad Reza Nikbakht said, “The [novel coronavirus] situation still moves forward, and more people are infected every day.” His remarks were carried by the state-run Mehr news agency on June 16.
“In the past 14 days, we face an increase in the outbreak of the coronavirus and Shahreza [county, Isfahan province,] is on the eve of entering a code red situation,” said Hojjatollah Tanhaei, the chief of Shahreza Health Network, in an interview with the state-run Fars news agency on June 17. “in the past two weeks, between four to seven people were daily infected with the coronavirus. However, around 10-12 people test positive for COVID-19 every day, which is considered as a high stat,” Tanhaei added.
In the Ilam province, western Iran, the coronavirus condition is also critical. The deputy head of the medical sciences university of the province said, “The situation of two counties in Ilam province has been designated red code regarding the increase in infected cases with the coronavirus. Ilam province, like its neighboring provinces, does not have a good condition about the coronavirus contagion,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported on June 17.
Moreover, according to Human Rights Center known a “No to prison, no to the death penalty,” another prisoner has died of the coronavirus in Isfahan Dastgerd Prison on June 16. This center reported that the prison guards and security agents are severely concerned about news of the coronavirus leaking out and protests by the prisoners’ families outside the prison.
“Many prisoners had a high fever and cough. On June 13, authorities transferred those prisoners to unidentified places, probably a hospital in Isfahan city, after checking them with a thermometer,” a source told the “No to prison, no to death penalty” center.
The source added, “Ward 5 of this prison has been emptied and sealed. Previously, around 150 people were held there. However, there is no information about the fate of those prisoners. Most of them likely contracted the coronavirus.”
Earlier, judicial officials dissolved the detention center, which had been used as a quarantine zone, and transferred all prisoners who returned from furlough and new detainees to the prison with eight buses on May 3. At the time, rights organizations expressed their concerns about the likelihood of the virus spreading among prisoners. However, they faced the authorities’ indifference, leading more prisoners to contract the COVID-19 illness.
Furthermore, Health Ministry Spokeswoman Leyla Sadat Lary declared that the provinces of Khuzestan, East Azerbaijan, Razavi Khorasan, Kermanshah, Hormozgan, and Kurdistan are in code red conditions. She admitted that in the past 24 hours, more than 2,600 citizens have been infected with the coronavirus. Lary claimed that 120 people have died of the virus within the last day and night.
However, the Iranian regime constantly downplays the actual number of coronavirus victims. For instance, on June 16, the official death count was 9,065 while the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) indicated, “Over 52,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 332 cities.” According to many sources, the stats provided by the PMOI/MEK is closer to the actual figure. Notably, the organization enjoys an extensive domestic network inside the country that enables it to provide detailed and precise reports from the regime’s most sensitive projects like the covert project to make nuclear weapons.
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