By Jubin Katiraie
The Iranian regime is intentionally downplaying Coronavirus deaths, according to a member of the country’s Covid-19 task force, which is the latest in a series of medical experts questioning the official numbers.
Viral epidemiologist Dr. Mohammad-Reza Mahboubfar said that the Health Ministry figures “were just 1/20th of the real figures”.
He also said that the first instances of coronavirus were found in Iran one month before it was announced to the general public.
Mahboubfar said: “At that time, the government covered it up due to political and security reasons and only announced it after the ceremony for the anniversary of the revolution and parliamentary elections… Unfortunately, from the very beginning, the information given to the public was not transparent. Certainly, the figures have been engineered since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. In any case, these statistics are announced based on political and security considerations.”
He further reiterated that the regime was not conducting widespread testing, contrary to what the Ministry of Health and the National Coronavirus Headquarters have said.
Mahboubfar said: “Due to lack of facilities and equipment, coronavirus tests are performed for people over 60 and for people with underlying diseases. Ordinary people such as children, adolescents, and young people, if they are suspected of having the disease, must go to private laboratories, and the minimum cost of the tests is about 300,000 tomans.”
In fact, there is now a black market for tests, where they can cost one million tomans each.
He criticized the regime for not wanting to control the virus, saying that the countries who did care about halting the outbreak provided tests promptly and for free. He also said that without “strict quarantines”, Iran could see witness another wave of the coronavirus in the autumn with daily deaths in the thousands.
This was seconded by infectious diseases specialist Mina Mohrez, another member of Iran’s COVID-19 Committee, who said that the regime wasn’t taking the coronavirus seriously, even though “most hospitals are overcapacity” and the “ICU’s are almost all full”.
Mohrez said: “Coronavirus has become stronger and more infectious and we will experience very bad autumn.”
The regime announced a Coronavirus death toll of 18,427, as of Sunday, but opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which has been reporting a more accurate death toll since the start, said that 85,500 Iranians have died.
Yet the death toll could be much higher because of the regime’s attempts to hide the numbers by threatening relatives and medical staff.