Death number keeps going up and there is nothing stopping it. 129 people have passed away in the past 24 hours (highest so far) and 1053 new cases have been confirmed in the same time period. Mazandaran and Isfahan numbers are increasing daily at an alarming rate. These numbers are staggering even though we know the official stats are undercounted.
Iran International reports total of 2259 deaths in the country, which means 168 people died of the virus since yesterday.
Despite increasing number of deaths and infected people all throughout Iran, President Rouhani says, “We hope we can defeat Coronavirus by the end of this year [March 20].” It’s not the first time he’s claiming the country would “go back to normal” in 3-4 days. A couple of weeks ago, on Tuesday, he said: “We’re going back to normal by Saturday”, only contradicting his own Minister of Health on that same day. When the president is so naive or such a liar, how do you expect people to take this disease seriously and stay home? Or how are they supposed to trust the numbers when they see the Ministry of Health numbers (let alone unofficial reports) show only the numbers going up!
On one hand, the government keep asking people to stay at home, on the other hand, the government doesn’t give its workers any leave of absence and force them to go to work; IRIB keeps downplaying COVID-19 and as said yesterday, chaos is managing the crisis.
Dr Zali, chief of Tehran’s Corona Combating Committee says, “many don’t know how quarantine works and just made a beast out of it, scaring people.” He continued, “we asked for Tehran to be quarantined based on scientific procedures but we were denied.” He believes self-quarantine has become the only way to break the infection cycle. But unfortunately IRIB and mixed messages coming out of Rouhani’s administration have created a mayhem.
Three days ago, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in a letter asked Armed Forces to take control of the crisis. Instead of helping the Ministry of Health, they have started parading on the streets, showing off their forces. Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of IRGC says, “We’re in full wartime readiness.” A couple of examples that they think COVID-19 is another “enemy” of the regime and want to get rid of it by repressive forces, guns and Basij, like what they did in November protests. I guess all this is to show how “normal” and “under control” everything is!
More and more healthcare workers are getting infected and sacrificing their lives for this monster every day. The monster could be both the regime and the virus! The shortage of masks, gloves and proper protective gears for hospital staff continues. The IRGC and Police continue cracking down on hoarders but the discovered supplies never arrive at the hospitals! A couple of days later, you can find them in the black market, any guesses as how?!
While police and intelligence services arrest whistleblowers left and right, people are sending out their videos courageously. The first part is a video of Qom cemetery, where “crisis section 41” is shown. As far as you can see, there are graves, and this is just one section! The second part shows digging of mass graves near Mashhad, the second biggest city in the country, with more than 3.2 million residents and place of Imam Reza holy shrine (8th Imam of Shia).
In a video message on Friday 13, Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, known as Molavi Abdul Hamid and Sheikhol Islam, the spiritual leader of Iran’s Sunnis, said “Nobody could help us in this crisis but God.” He added, Chinese clergy students at Al-Mustafa International University in Qom brought Coronavirus to Iran. He continued, this university works against unity of sects and brainwashes clergies who know very little about their religion, just because it has a huge budget. This university is Iran’s ideological machine, training Shia clergies and sending them across the world. It has branches at 60 countries around the globe. The university criticized Hamid and declined all accusations. It’s reported that Shia Ayatollahs in Qom are also under pressure to respond to Hamid’s claims.
The way COVID-19 is ripping through the country, some experts estimate it may stick around until June-July. It’s already a humanitarian catastrophe, just imagine it stays for that long!