The Lowy Institute released a Covid performance index on January 27. In its index, the institute sorted countries by regions, political systems, population size, and economic development to provide a real view of states’ performance to counter the novel coronavirus.
Based on the availability of data across the six indicators used to construct the index, the Lowy Institute ranked 98 countries compared to the average performance over the time in managing the Covid-19 pandemic in the 36 weeks following their hundredth confirmed case of the virus.
In this context, New Zealand showed the best performance with a 94.4 score while Brazil stood at the end of the table with only 4.3 points. Iran was ranked as the 95th country in managing the pandemic before Colombia and Mexico.
The Lowy Institute, of course, used official figures for ranking countries. This is while not only have the people and opposition rejected the statistics provided by the Iranian Health Ministry but also health officials have strongly challenged official figures.
For instance, in late April 2020, as the government officially declared that 5,877 people had lost their lives to the coronavirus, Mohammad Reza Mahboub-Far, member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, admitted that the health ministry’s stats were fabricated.
“The current stats of the coronavirus illness are 20 times higher than what is being announced by the Health Ministry. This has resulted in the people not taking this lethal illness seriously,” Vatan-e Emrouz daily quoted Mahboub-Far as saying on April 28, 2020.
At the time, the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) had announced that more than 36,600 people—nearly seven times the health ministry’s stats—have died of the Covid-19 as of Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The MEK said the number provided via reports tallied from 301 cities across all of Iran’s 31 provinces.
According to the MEK, the death toll surpassed 209,700 cases in 480 cities as of February 1, while the officials claim the death toll has stood at 58,038—around a third of the actual figure—until the same date.
Due to the government’s mismanagement and particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s recent Fatwa, which banned the government from purchasing U.S., UK, and French Covid-19 vaccines, coronavirus victims would increase even more.
Notably, based on the official death toll, Iran has the second-highest rate of Covid-19 death per capita. “We had the second-highest rate of death today after Mexico. Well, this is very scary. Yes, we now have the average coronavirus death in our country, which is about what happened today, something about 17 times, 17 percent of the world average. While we have 1.1 percent of the world population,” said Hamid Souri, member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, in an interview with TV Channel Five on August 19, 2020.
Also, Iran is the worst coronavirus-hit country in the Middle East by a large margin. On the other hand, the air pollution in Tehran and major cities, as well as power outages, have exacerbated the conditions in recent weeks.
Nonetheless, the government’s disastrous performance in containing the virus is the main element for the rare death rate in this zone of the world. Dissidents reckoned that Iran’s autocrats intentionally drive the country to more fatalities to quell any objection and disappoint citizens about their legal grievances.
They remember the government’s ‘human waves’ tactics during the eight-year war with Iraq to remove minefields. Furthermore, Khamenei described the coronavirus disease as a ‘blessing’ on March 3, 2020. That description, his recent decision for depriving citizens of credible Covid-19 vaccines, and non-transparent statistics about the real scope of this health crisis are in line with the opposition’s assertion.