The day before, a woman from Tehran said: “The situation is much worse than state media and officials are reporting… Yesterday, we were at the Yaft Abad Hospital. There were 17 deaths in that hospital in just a few hours that I was at that hospital… How can the declare the total deaths in the city to be eight?”
Similar reports came in from Zanjan and Andimeshk with mentions of secret burials, not being allowed to count infections, and scare availability of hygiene products, like sanitizers and facemasks. Even an Iranian MP reported 50 deaths in Qom alone. While the University of Toronto calculated in a research paper that said statistically 18,000 people are probably infected in Iran.
Despite having the highest number of casualties outside China, the regime is trying to downplay the outbreak that it helped cause through a policy of silence and inaction, but this is proving harder and harder to do. One person on the ground said this was close to causing another mass protest.
The coronavirus was reported on Wednesday to have spread to at least 13 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including Qom, Tehran, Markazi, Hamedan, Alborz, Semnan, Mazandaran, Gilan, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Razavi, Isfahan, Fars, and Hormozgan, but just hours later five more provinces were added to that list. Most cases have been reported in Qom, where the outbreak began, and Gilan.
Hashem Rafi Tabar, a member of Beheshti University’s science committee, advised that the regime quarantine large cities and shut down public buildings, like schools, mosques, and holy shrines, to contain the outbreak.
The regime is ignoring this though and accusing those who call for these measures of spreading anxiety and fear. The head of the Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh even claimed that people could come to the holy site to be cured of their illness.
The truth is that the regime wanted to cover this up initially in order to present stability to the world and boost the turnout at both the Revolution anniversary commemorations and the parliamentary elections. In both instances, they failed and caused more distrust from the people.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to send in nurses and doctors to help contain the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.