Health Ministry of Iran has confirmed 15 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on March 4, the most fatalities of any country outside of China, where the epidemic originated. Iran reportedly said that there are total 92 deaths from COVID-19 and 586 new cases have been reported. Iraj Harirchi, deputy health minister of Iran has also tested positive for the virus. According to the reports, it is suspected that the Iran government covered up many cases and the deaths are higher than officially reported. The majority of cases in Iran have been linked to Qom, which is believed to be the epicentre of the virus in Iran. An official from Qom claimed Monday that 50 people had died in the city; Tehran quickly rejected the figure and denied hiding anything, as per reports.
The Tehran authorities said at least 2,922 people have been infected in the country amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 92 lives, including a top government adviser, as per reports. Amid coronavirus outbreak, on March 1, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Tehran would get all help it needs to fight the deadly virus. He even stressed that there should be global coordination on the issues and pointed out that 'together we can defend this'. 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.