Fact Sheet No 2 – March 08, 2020
Corona Virus (COVID-19) in Iran
Collected From Various Public and Non-public Sources
1) Corona has spread to all provinces, most cities and many villages. It is estimated that more than 70% of the country is affected by corona. Internal and confidential government reports show that the number of people affected by the disease so far has reached to more than 211,000 and that the death toll has surpassed 6,800 people. The official public reports given by the government, however, are nearly one twentieth of the above numbers. Estimates by health care professionals are far more than even the afore-mentioned government’s confidential reports.
2) In their calculations, the Ministry of Health includes only those who have been tested positive for corona and admitted to hospitals. The number of such patients is only a small fraction of the number of those affected. There are not enough test kits. The government has defined four categories of patients: those (1) tested positive, (2) diagnosed as affected by corona, (3) suspicious of having the disease, and (4) probably having the infection. According to their definition, very few people fall in the first category which is the basis for their public reports.
To the above must be added their blatant lies. Moreover, the statistics rendered by different government entities are completely contradictory. For example, the total number of affected people in the province of Isfahan on last Monday was 601 people while on the same day, the governer of Kashan (one of the cities in the province of Isfahan) announced that the number of the affected, only in this city, was 1056 people from which 88 people succumbed to the disease!
For many of the deceased, the Ministry issues death certificates in which the reason of death is mentioned “Due to infectious diseases or lung infections”. Death certificates “Due to corona virus” is only issued for those who had undergone corona tests and had been hospitalized because of this disease. Health professionals say this covers merely less than 3% of those who actually died because of the corona virus.
3) Detergent and disinfectant factories and other sanitary products factories are working at full capacity, but they can supply a tenth of the country’s current needs. At the same time, they are also facing shortages of raw materials that, if not imported on time, will also cause problems for such factories.
4) The IRGC has set up 25 field hospitals; however, considering more than 2,500 cities, this is analogous only to a drop of water in a sea. Of note, these 25 hospitals, in and of themselves, have a very low capacity. So far, 143 gymnasiums have been equipped with beds to complement these field hospitals without any medical facilities, only to place patients there. Meanwhile, these field hospitals also face a shortage of medical supplies, medical staff and equipment.
5) Lack of masks, special protective suits, even alcohol, and other equipment for the medical staff in hospitals is a huge problem. According to Jafari Imanabadi, a Member of Parliament of Rasht (a northern city of Iran and the capital of Gilan Province), fifty percent of Gilan’s Hospital staff have been affected by the virus. In some cities, hospital staff do not show up to work any longer because of lack of protective suits, equipment and sanitary products.
6) The government announced that the country’s roads to the northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan were closed. On Chalus Road, people clashed with police forces and opened the road. The government withdrew and declared that all roads are open. Following this, the people of these provinces announced that they themselves would be blocking the roads and preventing the entry of cars with the license plates from Tehran, Qom and other epicenters of the country. This has led to various clashes in and around northern cities, with one death reported so far. The clashes are likely to continue in the 22 provinces of the country that have announced that no one shall come to their province for the Nowruz holiday (Mar 20 – April 05).
7) Al-Nesa company, owned by the IRGC, fraudulently changed the labels of a deodorant spray and marked it as “antibacterial spray”. Upon the detection of this fraud by people and some government employees, the IRGC Commander-in-Chief promised to deal with the company’s to management; a measure that is not going to happen based on similar past experience.
8) Upon the fear of food shortages among the people, the rush to buy canned foods, beans, rice, sugar, and other food products has increased the prices. In some provinces, such as Kohkiluyeh and Boyerahmad, Kerman, and Hamadan, there are also reports on shortage of flour for cooking bread.
9) Some members of the Ansar al-Mahdi Army responsible for protecting the country’s authorities have been infected with corona, two of whom died two days ago. The President and the Cabinet Ministers are supposed to stay at home and manage via video conferencing. Vice President Es-hagh Jahangiri, who was also diagnosed with corona and had been undergoing treatment with medical equipment at his home, is reportedly feeling better and has probably survived the disease.
10) A letter has been sent to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, by Eshagh Jahangiri and the government’s Planning and Budget Director Mohammad Bagher Nobakht. The letter states that it is not right that the Iranian government has given such low statistics to the international community and the World Health Organization, and that they must seek the help of the world and the countries of the region, even Saudi Arabia.
11) On March 8, the Ministry of Intelligence reported that 51 of its staff have been diagnosed with corona virus throughout the country.