Coronavirus: Iran’s cover-up threatens whole of the Middle East

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An Iranian boy gestures as he wears protective mask to prevent contracting a coronavirus in Tehran (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran is now the second focal point after China for the spread of the coronavirus disease as it does the same of the Communist regime to cover up the truth of the pandemic.

Two more people infected with the new coronavirus have died, taking the toll in Iran to 16, a Health Ministry official told state TV on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi has tested positive for coronavirus, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported. Iraj, also head of Iran’s counter-coronavirus task force, is now under quarantine.

While Iran is struggling to contain the virus spread, fears are growing across the Middle East that coronavirus has infiltrated a main pilgrimage route, which could lead the deadly pathogen to vulnerable refugee populations, causing perhaps unprecedented public health crises across the region.

Concern is centred on the Iranian shrine city of Qom, which is thought to be a hub of the disease and the likely source of its spread elsewhere in the country and in neighbouring states, where infected travellers have been diagnosed in recent days.

The Health Ministry urged Iranians to stay at home. Iran said on Monday 900 cases were suspected, dismissing claims by a lawmaker from the holy Shi’ite city of Qom who said 50 people had died in the city.

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday banned all flights to and from Iran over the outbreak, a day after its spread from the Islamic Republic was announced across multiple Mideast nations.

Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan have closed their borders with Iran, where officials scrambled on Monday to deny that 50 people had died of the virus in Qom.

“In the whole country, 47 have been diagnosed with Covid-19. Unfortunately, 12 of them have died of the disease so far,” said the spokesman for the Iranian parliament, Assadollah Abbasi, contradicting the reports out of Qom.

“In Iraq, [coronavirus] poses a major public health threat because the Iraqi health system is very weak,” Dr Adam Coutts, a specialist on public health in the Middle East at Cambridge University, told the Guardian.

“It potentially could wipe out thousands of people. And there’s no way of tracking it once it gets into a refugee population, given the mobility. These viruses or diseases expose the politics and fragility of public health systems,” Dr. Coutts said.

The outbreak in Iran comes as its clerical rulers face further U.S. sanctions that have hit the economy hard.

The coronavirus outbreak threatens to isolate Iran even further, with neighboring countries closing their borders and suspending flights after coronavirus cases in travellers from Iran were confirmed in Canada, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Iraq.

No doubt that the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was the first to blame. But the Iran regime has to take its own responsibility as it has come too close in relation with the dictatorship in brotherhood, and did the same to cover up the truth.

The second to blame is the WHO and its Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who failed to warn the world of the seriousness of the pandemic while helping the CCP regime with their cover-up.

Although Dubai and major airports in the Middle East have been screening passengers on incoming flights from China, where the outbreak began in December, no Islamic states are fully prepared for the virus spread.

According to Jerusalem Post, Iranians have been largely left in the dark since last Wednesday when two deaths were announced in the Islamic Republic from coronavirus. The regime wanted elections to go well on February 21, so it sought to prevent any news of the virus for days.

By Saturday, it was too late – and the country moved to shut down schools and universities. But Iranians and other pilgrims who had come to Qom and become sick with the virus were already on the move.

By Cloudy Seagail

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo criticized China and Iran’s response to the coronavirus, saying that suppression of information about the infection may have made the outbreak worse or put other countries on the back foot. He spoke today in Washington.

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