Outlook grows dire in Iran

As countries around the globe struggle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Iran seems to be especially hard hit. The government said "million" could die if the public does not take better precautions against the spread of the disease.

By

World News

March 17, 2020 - 10:19 AM

Spokesperson of the Government Ali Rabiei and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi at a press conference in February. Hours after the conference, it was announced that Harirchi himself tested positive for the virus. Photo by Wikipedia commons

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran issued its most dire warning yet today about the outbreak of the new coronavirus ravaging the country, suggesting “millions” could die in the Islamic Republic if the public keeps traveling and ignoring health guidance.

A state television journalist who also is a medical doctor gave the warning only hours after hard-line Shiite faithful the previous night pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that had just been closed over fears of the virus. Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader issued a religious ruling prohibiting “unnecessary” travel in the country.

Roughly nine out of 10 of the over 18,000 cases of the new virus confirmed across the Middle East come from Iran, where authorities denied for days the risk the outbreak posed. Officials have now implemented new checks for people trying to leave major cities ahead of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Friday, but have hesitated to quarantine the areas.

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