Iran Risks Thousands of Deaths in Region by Failing to Control Coronavirus Spread

The world reels from Iran’s inexplicable refusal to close the shrine city of Qom and major international pilgrimage sites infected with the novel coronavirus.  Qom is the novel coronavirus infection hub and likely source of its spread in Iran and in neighboring states.

The Iranian government announced that “Quarantining Qom is not an effective way to contain the coronavirus.”

The outcome is inevitable, “…could wipe out thousands of people.  And there’s no way of tracking it once it gets into a refugee population, given the mobility.”  Dr. Adam Coutts, a specialist in public health in the Middle East at Cambridge University stated.

Iran’s Health Ministry dismissed claims by a lawmaker from Qom that the death toll from the disease in the holy Shi’ite city is about four times higher than the official number and that the government is covering up the extent of the disease’s spread in Iran.

Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi denied a cover-up, the need for quarantine and announced that the crisis was being controlled.  Yesterday, Harirchi reported that he is infected with the novel coronavirus and entered quarantine.

Regionally, officials were attempting to track those who had returned from Iran in recent weeks and summons them for urgent screenings. Particular attention was being paid to Shia pilgrims who may have unwittingly carried the virus with them on their journeys home.

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