Some neighboring countries bury their heads in the sand

COVID-19 defeat ‘before long’, Iran health minister says

February 23, 2020 - 17:42

TEHRAN – Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said effective measures have been taken and comprehensive plans are underway to get rid of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, in the country.

The country has put in place a set of contingency plans, including the temporary shutdown of schools, universities and cultural centers, in an effort to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has already claimed eight lives in the country.

“With regard to the past experience, I say that we will defeat the coronavirus before long,” the minister stressed.

“As a veteran soldier in the Iranian health front, I have taken the responsibility of removing measles, tetanus, and polio which astonished the World Health Organization as the country is grappling with sanctions with no international support. So, I [definitely] say that we will defeat the coronavirus.”

He went on to say that the nation has been mobilized against the virus and “we will announce its defeat soon.” 

Concealing reality

That is while some certain neighboring countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, have so far avoided to present any statistics about the number of people infected and died as a result of the disease, while trying to show that the situation in Iran is more exacerbated than what officials explain.

For example, credible sources have informed the Tehran Times that COVID-19 has infected some 50 people and claimed lives of 18 people in the UAE. But, officials have not announced any statistics so far in this regard.

Measures taken   

The Health Ministry on Sunday raised the death toll from the virus to eight and the number of people who had tested positive for coronavirus to 43.

As a preventive measure, Iranian authorities have ordered a week-long closure of educational and cultural institutions across 14 provinces as of Sunday, Press TV reported.

Spokesman for Tehran's Department of Education, Masoud Saghafi, said the decision was made to "prepare schools" which have to be disinfected and sanitized.

Tehran’s Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said Sunday that all the city’s public places, including the metro trains and buses, are being disinfected every night as part of attempts to contain the spread of the virus.

Head of Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz also said that pharmacies will no longer be allowed to sell protective masks and that masks will be distributed among the population via government-run centers free of charge, with the priority given to virus-hit provinces.