Iran’s coronavirus count stands at roughly 269,000 but the actual number of Covid-positive persons is nearly 90 times higher, President Hassan Rouhani suggested. Critically, millions more are at risk of catching the contagion.
It is estimated that “25 million Iranians have been infected with the coronavirus so far and about 14,000 people have lost their lives,” Rouhani declared, while addressing a national Covid-19 task force, official news agency IRNA reported Saturday.
Rouhani’s estimates mean that in Iran, home to over 80 million, almost every third citizen has tested positive for coronavirus.
Invoking health ministry data, the President said 500 out of 1,000 Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, which only aggravates the risk of transmitting the deadly disease.
Furthermore, “30 to 35 million people are likely to be exposed to the disease in the coming months,” the president suggested, urging compatriots to follow strict distancing and hygiene rules in order to break the transmission chain.
Rouhani’s gruesome prediction eclipses figures published by authoritative international sources. Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center currently puts the number of Iranian cases at over 269,400 and the number of deaths at over 13,700.
In late-April and mid-May, Iran relaxed some of its lockdown measures, reopening mosques, bazaars, public parks and restaurants. In the weeks that followed, the mortality rate went up, prompting health officials to increase testing and to warn citizens against neglecting distancing rules.
The Islamic Republic was, and still is, the hardest-hit nation in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who reported 245,851 and 105,898 cases respectively – are trailing behind Iran in a regional rating.
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