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Home » Security » Experts fear MASSIVE coronavirus cover-up in Iran. Why care?

Experts fear MASSIVE coronavirus cover-up in Iran. Why care?

PortandTerminal.com, March 2, 2020

“Right now in Iran, we are facing a coronavirus epidemic. The Health Ministry has told us not to announce any new statistics.”

LONDON – Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeesi said today that 1,501 Iranians have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and at least 66 have died as of Monday morning, March 2nd.

Nobody believes him. Least of all other Iranians who are seeing with their own eyes the mounting death toll in their country as the virus spreads throughout it like a fire.

Monday, March 02, City of Yekandi of Mahabad in Kurdistan Province. Footage of a person passed out in the street, allegedly due to coronavirus

Cover-up

There are multiple sources inside Iran saying that the Iranian Health Ministry has forbidden the announcement of any new coronavirus statistics.

It is widely suspected that the official tally vastly underestimates the true number of cases of the virus in Iran.

Mohammad Reza Ghadir, head of the Medical Science University in Qom, a city in which there has been a significant number of confirmed cases, said on state television that the Health Ministry had “…banned the release of numbers on the outbreak in the city.

Asked how many people had been placed in quarantine, Ghadir said: “The Health Ministry has told us not to announce any new statistics.”

“The Health Ministry has told us not to announce any new statistics.”

The lack of clear reporting from Iran has prompted experts to raise concerns over whether there has been an official cover-up of the scale of the epidemic, and whether the country will be able to contain the disease and its virulent spread.

Iran is on its way to becoming the Typhoid Mary of coronavirus. A super-spreader of the virus.

Why care?

Crowd of demonstrators in Middle East carrying a sign that says Trump Die
There’s a lot about Iran to dislike. That doesn’t matter right now.

Why care? Why should the United States care about the number of coronavirus cases its sworn enemy Iran suffers? Maybe the more the better.

It matters for two reasons, not the least of which is the humanitarian one. Millions of innocent people in Iran, a country of 81 million people, need medicine and help that their doctors and hospitals are unable to provide them with because of the sanctions placed on the country.

Urban scene. Young boy with winter hat and a surgical mask in foreground.
Knowing the true number of coronavirus cases in Iran matters for two reasons, not least of which is the humanitarian one.

Even basic testing kits were not available in Iran until last week due to the sanctions imposed upon the regime by the US.

“The Trump administration will face a moral dilemma: whether to remove some of the pressure on Iran or face international condemnation for putting millions at risk.”

Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington

Iran is becoming the Typhoid Mary of the coronavirus pandemic

The second reason it matters is that the world needs to know the true scope of the epidemic in Iran as people throughout the world continue to travel to and from Iran. How many Iranians are infected? What risk do they pose to others? What measures and controls need to be taken?

How much help does Iran need to put this genie back into the bottle? And if they won’t accept help, how severely must the world isolate Iran and its neighbors until the virus finishes burning through the country?

New York City scene. Neon lights, lots of people.  Black man in foreground of photo wearing surgical mask.
New York officials warned on Monday that the coronavirus was likely to spread in New York City, a day after confirming that a Manhattan woman had contracted the virus while traveling in Iran (New York Times)

The New York Times is reporting that the first case of coronavirus was reported in Manhattan, the most densely populated city in the United States. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo confirmed the case yesterday and said that a woman had contracted the virus while traveling in Iran.

In Toronto today four new cases of coronavirus were confirmed. All of the new cases are tied to travel. Three of the new cases were related to travel to Iran, the fourth was tied to Egypt.

And yesterday, March 1st, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia all reported their first confirmed coronavirus cases. Many of these new cases are tied to travel to and from Iran according to Al Jazeera.

How many cases in Iran are there really?

Urban bus stop in Middle East. People waiting. All wearing surgical masks.
Assuming that there are tens of thousands of cases of coronavirus in Iran is a sensible place to start.

Multiple news sources including Fox News are reporting that Iran is preparing for the possibility of “tens of thousands” of people getting tested for the new coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases spiked again Saturday, an official said.

Dr. Abdolreza Fazel, head of the Health Authority in Golestan Province in Iran says 594 patients have died of Coronavirus in that province alone.

Remember – officially, the Iranian government says that only 66 people have died because of coronavirus. The government is underreporting by a minimum of 10 times the real number of cases.

A senior medical doctor at the Masih Daneshvari hospital in Tehran, the country’s top pulmonary public hospital and the main facility overseeing coronavirus patients was keen to retain his anonymity but stated: “We think that this virus has been in Iran for the past three to four weeks and has circulated throughout the country. Right now in Iran, we are facing a coronavirus epidemic.

Iran’s Deputy Health minister Iraj Harirchi on left shown profusely sweating, wiping his face in during a televised conference. It was revealed the next day that he has contracted coronavirus

What we do know for sure is that four of Iran’s coronavirus cases are senior government officials. Two are sick. Two have already died from the virus.

In an ironic twist, Iranian state media said last week that a member of the Iranian parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, and the country’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, who led a task force battling the virus, had both tested positive.

READ: Iran’s Dep. Minister of Health catches coronavirus. VIDEO

It was also reported that Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican and prominent cleric Hadi Khosrowshahi died of coronavirus. And India TV reported Monday that a senior Iranian official and close advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died of coronavirus, becoming at least the fourth government official to succumb to the a virus.

Is it just possible that even Iran’s supreme leader has been exposed to coronavirus? Some are saying that it’s not only possible, it’s probable.

So what now?

Iranian women wearing black dresses, head covering and surgical mask seated at an outdoor table.

The lack of clear reporting from Iran has prompted experts to raise concerns over whether there has been an official cover-up of the scale of the epidemic, and whether the country will be able to contain the disease and its virulent spread.

READ: Chaos – Turkey opens its ports and borders for refugees who want into EU

Iran is quickly becoming the hub of a major outbreak across the Middle East, and given its porous borders with unstable countries at war or in turmoil, things could quickly get a whole lot worse.

It’s time for enemies on both sides to park their differences for a while and tackle the coronavirus pandemic together. There will be plenty of time for oil sanctions and animosity later.

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