Iran’s parliament heard Wednesday the fatality rate from the coronavirus pandemic is likely nearly double officially reported figures, due to undercounting and those with existing breathing problems being mostly excluded from testing.
According to AP, the report represents the highest-level charge yet from within the Islamic Republic of its figures being economical with the truth, something long suspected by international experts.
Iran’s death toll on the same day the report landed was 4,777, out of 76,389 confirmed cases of the virus — still making it the Mideast’s worst outbreak by far.
Not everyone agrees with Iran’s counting, as Breitbart News reported.
The Iranian resistance group POI/MEK claims the true death toll is already approaching 30,000. On Monday, it said over 26,200 people have died, over five times what the regime has admitted to, and fatalities are still spiking in several cities.
Mojtaba Yazdani, deputy director of municipal services for the Iranian capital of Tehran, said some 10,000 graves have already been dug in an area of the massive Behesht-e Zahra cemetery reserved for coronavirus victims, and grave-digging is still underway.
The Washington Post wrote on Friday that the scale of Iran’s coronavirus epidemic has been “obscured by often upbeat stories about survivors in Iran’s official media and by an inscrutable government many suspect is underplaying the toll.”
Social and religious habits are also confounding official efforts to stop the spread of the virus:
World Health Organisation @WHO needs to intervene urgently.
Videos of pro-regime people urging even their own children to lick the #CoronaVirus infested shrines are surfacing.
Not only is this child abuse, but it's also helping the virus spread Iran and to other countries. pic.twitter.com/CDDYzSuxMF
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 29, 2020
Accurate testing regimes remain a problem for Iran as it looks to stabilise the death rate.
“In order to have more compatibility between protocol and estimated statistics, it is necessary to increase laboratory and testing capabilities in the country,” the report said. “Needless to say that through increasing the capacities, diagnosis of disease will be more possible and spread of the disease will be more limited.”
As answer to that challenge may be provided from within after Iran unveiled a special magnetic coronavirus detector Wednesday it claimed can remotely identify infected people and contaminated areas within a range of 100 meters.
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami said the unique device is so advanced it obviates the need for blood tests and delivers a result in just five seconds.
According to a report by the official Tasnim News agency, Salami praised the homegrown device as a “state-of-the-art and unique instrument” that has been developed by local scientists after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Mehrs news agency added the device has been equipped with an antenna, with proud Salami boasting “a bipolar virus has been designed inside the device and its antenna is placed in front of the contaminated area up to 100m distance and can detect the contaminated area in five seconds using a magnetic field.”