Reports: Lawmaker from Iran's Qom accuses government of virus coverup, says About 50 dead in Qom

Iran government pledges transparency on virus figures

The coronavirus death toll in Iran’s city of Qom is around 50, the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Qom’s representative in the parliament Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani as saying.

“Up until last night, around 50 people died from coronavirus. The health minister is to blame,” Amirabadi Farahani said on Monday.

Ten people die in Qom daily due to the coronavirus outbreak in the city, he added.

“Qom is in a poor state and the government has been unsuccessful in controlling the coronavirus outbreak,” Amirabadi Farahani said.

Criticizing the government, he said that the government is not “worried enough” about the outbreak, stating: “It is true that we should keep calm, but we must not act like nothing has happened.”

The official and latest update by the Iranian health authorities put the death toll at twelve and forty seven others confirmed infected, state media reported on Monday, according to a source.

Persian-language news channel Iran International put the death toll at 24 on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

Abbasi also said Iran has no shortage of health and medical facilities and citizens should not worry.

“Based on the health minister’s report, coronavirus will disappear as the weather warms up,” he added.
However, Iran's government on Monday pledged to be transparent with its figures on a deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country, amid allegations of a cover-up. According to AFP.

"We will announce any figures (we have) on the number of deaths throughout the country. We pledge to be transparent about the reporting of figures," government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a news conference aired live on state television.

Iran late to announce, unprepared for coronavirus

Farahani's announcement takes the number of cases in Iran up rapidly, from eight on Sunday night to at least 50 on Monday.

“Coronavirus has been in Qom since three weeks ago and the outbreak was announced late,” Amirabadi Farahani said.

The Iranian government only announced the presence of coronavirus in Qom on Wednesday, when officials said it killed two elderly people - the first confirmed deaths from the disease in the Middle East.

Speaking on Wednesday, the health ministry spokesman had said that Iran carried out tests on 785 suspected cases.

Iran also announced the closure of schools in the Shia city of Qom.

But already on Friday, Iranians voiced their discontent at the level of preparation, with protests breaking out in the northern city of Talash reportedly aimed at the government's response to the outbreak.

Farahani also criticized the government's response and said they did not have the sufficient supplies.

“Nurses currently do not have proper quarantine clothing and are treating patients with fear and anxiety,” he said on Monday.

Coronavirus hits the Middle East

If Farahani is correct, the numbers from the outbreak mark a major increase in the number of deaths from coronavirus anywhere outside China - let alone just Iran.

On the same day, Bahrain and Kuwait also reported coronavirus cases.

Bahrain said a man who traveled to the country from Iran had been infected, while Kuwait said that three people including a Saudi citizen had been infected. Saudi Arabia announced it is cooperating with Kuwait to treat the patient.

Earlier in the month, the UAE reported that an Iranian couple had tested positive for the virus while in the country.

Many regional countries reacted to the much bigger outbreak in Iran by closing borders and putting restrictions on travel.

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