Coronavirus outbreak MUCH WORSE than Iran claims with up to 210 feared to have died

The figure, reported on by BBC Persian, is six times higher than the official death toll given by the health ministry today. Iran’s health department told journalists the total number of those who had died after infection stood at 34. The country has maintained its stance, and has accused the BBC of spreading mistruths.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour insisted the country was being transparent about the issue.

The news comes as a member of parliament for Qom, the city where cases of coronavirus first emerged, accused the authorities of covering up information about the true extent of the virus.

The US also expressed concern surrounding a suppression of information.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said: “We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help.

“Their healthcare infrastructure is not robust and, to date, their willingness to share information about what’s really going on inside.

“Iran has not been robust.”

But Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the offer outright.

He said: “The claim to help Iran confront coronavirus is from a country that has imposed expansive pressures on the Iranian nation through its economic terrorism.

“It has even blocked the way for purchase of medical equipment and medicines is ridiculous and a political-psychological game.”

BBC Persian is a Persian-language based news channel and website.

The channel is banned from Iran by the country’s authorities.

Iran has been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The country’s official sources have suggested hundreds have tested positive for the disease.

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Today, the country reported 34 deaths and 388 cases, but both these figures have been disputed.

Internally, there are fears that suppression of information is a result of the country not knowing how to deal with the true extent of the virus.

A number of high profile people have been revealed to have tested positive for the disease.

These include a vice-president, a deputy health minister and at least two MPs.

The country has openly announced it is taking precautionary measures to stop the virus from spreading.

It has closed schools and universities and stopped Friday prayers in 23 cities.

Mr Jahanpour tweeted about how Iranian citizens could stop the virus in its tracks.

He said: “Staying home, restricting traffic, reducing movement and interactions, avoiding unnecessary travel, cancelling any nationwide gatherings along with observing individual health tips are the only ways to control Covid-19.”

Dr Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organisation’s emergencies programme, recently stated the high mortality rate in Iran was concerning.

He suggested this may mean the outbreak could be more widespread than originally thought.

As a result, a World Health Organisation mission will be sent to the country to tackle the outbreak.

It is expected to arrive on Sunday or Monday.

The mission was expected to already have a presence in Iran, however, Dr Ryan said access had been delayed to the country.

He added the United Arab Emirates was assisting WHO officials in avoiding travel complications.

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