A homeless man in Tehran has his temperature checked as a precaution against coronavirus on March 15. (Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Iranian Official: 500,000 Citizens Could be Infected by Coronavirus

A member of Iran’s National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce has revealed that some 500,000 people in the country have likely been infected with coronavirus, a huge discrepancy with the official tally of just over 60,000 confirmed cases. According to The Jerusalem Post, Hamid Souri told Iranian media that the vast majority of carriers had not been identified, raising fears that the outbreak in the Islamic Republic is much more widespread than reported. “The coronavirus curve has not flattened in any of [Iran’s] 31 provinces,” Souri reportedly said while describing the situation as “worrisome.” Iran has been one of the world’s hardest-hit countries and is considered the epicenter of the spread of the contagion in the Middle East, where over 100,000 cases have been diagnosed. Many have accused Tehran of initially ignoring the potential ramifications of the outbreak and, subsequently, not being transparent about the scope and severity. While the Iranian government has reported some 3,700 deaths from COVID-19, media outlets this week cited Western intelligence sources who claimed the toll was greater than 12,000.

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