Amid accusations of a cover-up in coronavirus outbreak, the Iranian government has now pledged to be transparent with it figures including the death toll. Speaking to a news conference aired live on state television, government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said that the administration will now announce any figures they have on the number of deaths across the country.
“We pledge to be transparent about the reporting of figures,” said Rabiei.
The pledge was made after an Iranian lawmaker accused the government of hiding the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak in Qom, which has now reported 50 deaths from the deadly virus. According to semi-official news agency ISNA, Ahmad Amiriabadi Farahani, an official from the holy city of Qom, accused Iran’s Health Minister of “lying” about the outbreak.
While Iran had, a few hours earlier, reported 12 deaths from coronavirus, the latest report suggests that the death toll in Qom only has reached 50. Farahani reportedly claimed that more than 250 people are quarantined in Qom and the 50 deaths due to coronavirus date as far back as February 13.
The threat of the deadly virus in the Gulf region has rapidly increased with Bahrain and Kuwait confirming first cases of coronavirus. According to Bahrain’s state news agency, the one confirmed case had arrived from Iran, the country which has shown a sudden spike in the number of deaths.
Kuwait’s state news agency, quoting the Ministry of Health, reported that three persons, including a Saudi national, have been tested positive for coronavirus. One of the three returnees was identified as a Kuwaiti male, 53, while the third patient was a 21-year-old with gender and nationality not yet revealed.
According to the latest report, 150 new deaths in China due to coronavirus infections have been confirmed, taking the total death toll because of the deadly virus to nearly 2,600. While most of the cases are from Hubei province of China and the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, other countries, including Italy, Japan and the Philippines, have also reported deaths related to COVID-19.
(With inputs from agencies)