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Iran Announces Additional 740 Coronavirus Cases, Official Death Toll Hitting 194

Health officials in Tehran say the national death toll from COVID-19, the World Health Organization’s name for the illness caused by coronavirus, stands at 194 as of Sunday, with a total of 6,566 confirmed cases – an increase of 49 deaths and 743 cases in 24 hours. The figures, reported by the semi-official FARS news agency, were announced by Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, who added that 2,134 patients had recovered. Iran is reporting the highest numbers in the Middle East by far, with other countries in the region reporting cases that are only in the double digits. Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei, Iranian brothers and health policy experts living in the United States, slammed authorities in Iran in a New York Times opinion piece on Friday, accusing them of making health policy “subservient” to their overall policies. Among other things, the writers accused Tehran of a “glaring denial of the magnitude of the crisis” and of having “suppressed information about the coronavirus because it did not want participation in the [recent] elections to be affected.” The two called on Iran to “put out truthful, transparent numbers.” They also said Western countries “must take the lead on global medical diplomacy and do more to provide testing kits to Iran,” calling on Washington to “overcome its belligerent posture toward Iran” and “provide… medical and technical support….”