- Eight percent of Iran’s parliament — 23 out of 290 members — has been infected with the coronavirus.
- At least seven government officials also have it, including one of Iran’s vice presidents, and a key adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died from the virus.
- The government’s efforts to suppress information about the scale of the outbreak has exacerbated its impact, and experts warn this is a cautionary tale for the rest of the world.
- Iran is descending into chaos amid the coronavirus outbreak, with the government seemingly incapable of handling the scale of the crisis and going as far as to threaten the death penalty to those who hoard necessary materials or equipment.
At least 77 people have died in Iran from the virus so far, according to the official death toll, though the number could be much higher because of the government’s apparent efforts to hide the extent of the outbreak. Iran has over 2,300 confirmed cases.
A BBC News report, which cited hospital sources, on Friday said the death toll from coronavirus in Iran was actually 210.
- As of Tuesday, 8% of Iran’s parliament has been infected, according to CNN, along with Iran’s deputy health minister and one of the country’s vice presidents. And a key adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, has died from it.
In total, at least 23 members of the 290-member Iranian parliament have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, CNN reported. The parliament has been suspended indefinitely, and lawmakers have been asked to stop meeting with the public.
Iran appears to have the highest number of government officials infected with the coronavirus. At least seven Iranian officials, including Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, have tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Iran has temporarily released 54,000 prisoners to combat the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, BBC News reported.
Coronavirus has spread to nearly all Iran provinces: president
DUBAI (Reuters) – Coronavirus has spread to almost all of Iran’s provinces but the country will get through the outbreak with a “minimum” number of deaths, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.
“This disease is a widespread disease,” he said during a Cabinet meeting, according to the official presidency website.
“It has reached almost all our provinces and in one sense it’s a global disease.”
The health ministry said on Tuesday that 92 people had died so far from coronavirus, one of the highest death tolls outside China where the epidemic originated late last year. It said 2,922 people had been infected with the disease.
Among those infected is first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri, the IranWire news site reported, citing an “informed source”. There was no immediate confirmation from officials.
Several Iranian officials have come down with coronavirus and one senior official died from an infection on Monday.
The Islamic Republic has canceled Friday prayers in all provincial capitals this week because of the coronavirus outbreak, state television reported on Wednesday.
Rouhani said Iran would get through the outbreak with a minimum number of deaths and in the shortest period of time thanks to the skills of its doctors and nurses.
He took a jab at an American offer to help with the outbreak without mentioning the United States directly.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States had offered to help Iran with the outbreak.
“They’ve appeared with a mask of sympathy that ‘we also want to help the people of Iran’,” Rouhani said. “If you are really telling the truth, then lift sanctions from medicine.”
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and reimposed sanctions which have hammered Iran’s economy.
U.S. officials have said that the sanctions do not target medicine for Iran, a point Iranian officials dispute.
Iran says 92 dead as coronavirus reaches all but one province