Iran has confirmed 11 new fatalities from the deadly coronavirus outbreak escalating the death toll to 77, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi reportedly revealed. At least 2,336 Iranian nationals have been infected, including the 835 new cases, he confirmed.
According to the reports, Iran has lost its seven top officials to the deadly coronavirus and Iran’s supreme leader has now ordered its armed forces to assist the health ministry in combatting the disease. Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of a top council that advises the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, contracted the COVID-19 and died on March 2. His death was followed by the other two prominent leaders, a former ambassador to Iran and a newly elected member of Parliament, who also succumbed to the ailment.
The Iranian government has reportedly been ineffective in controlling the crisis as the virus has spread to its highest level of emergency within the country. Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, mentioned in a report that it is the revolutionary state’s delayed response, highly ideological and inept approach of governance that spiralled the public health situation. He added saying that it was entirely a "leadership failure".
Iran’s health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour had earlier announced that the country was monitoring cases of coronavirus across several cities, including Mashad, a holy Shiite shrine site that attracts pilgrims from across the world, as per the media reports. He had admitted that calls by Iran’s civilian government to clerics to seal such shrines to the public were not uniformly followed. Tehran and the holy city of Qom are the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei revealed to a state broadcaster that Iran has plans to mobilize at least 300,000 military troops and volunteers to combat the coronavirus. The decision has been taken considering that Iran has the highest death toll outside mainland China, he added. The announcement comes after the country failed to downplay the spread of the coronavirus last week.