Iran Announces Another 147 Deaths in Raging Pandemic
Iran’s deputy health minister announced on Wednesday that in the previous 24 hours, another 147 people had died from COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, and an additional 1,192 cases had been confirmed nationwide. This brings the death toll in the Islamic Republic to 1,135, and the total cases to close to 17,400. It was the biggest 24-hour jump in deaths recorded since the first two were announced on February 19. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the way the country has been handling the outbreak, telling members of his cabinet Wednesday morning in Tehran: “We spoke to the people honestly. We did not delay.” Some critics are accusing Tehran of a coverup, while others say its response to the pandemic has been inadequate. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, says that government reporting in the region has been “uneven.” Speaking to reporters Wednesday during a video briefing, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO’s Cairo-based regional director, said: “Unfortunately, even today, as the situation is becoming critical, information on cases is insufficiently communicated by countries to WHO.” He gave no specific examples.