Two days after describing China’s COVID-19 figures as a ‘joke’, Kianoush Jahanpur, a spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Health has backtracked from his stance. The deadly coronavirus infection which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan has since then spiralled out infecting 1,347,566 and claiming 74,780 lives worldwide.
On April 5, Jahanpur speaking at the press conference made the remarks. He also said that China’s figures gave the impression that COVID-19 was like “ influenza but with fewer deaths". Following his statement, the Chinese ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua asserted that officials from the Chinese health ministry have had a press conference every day since the outbreak began in December last year. He then also advised Jahanpour to “read the news carefully in order to draw conclusions."
After his withdrawal of the statement, Jahanpur said that he was merely commenting on how China’s epidemiological assessment was not shared by Iran. This comes as Iranian officials reportedly announced that the country will not seek assistance from the United States to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. During a briefing with journalists through teleconferencing, Abbas Mousavi rejected the possibility of such a request accusing the US of trying to abuse Iran's current situation to force it into negotiations.
In another news, Iranian officials also said that they will also allow "low-risk" economic activities to resume from April 11 as the nation's daily coronavirus infection rates have slowed down. "Restarting these activities does not mean we have abandoned the principle of staying at home," President Hassan Rouhani said at a meeting of Iran's anti-coronavirus task force.
The President, whose country has been battered by US economic sanctions, did not specify what qualified as "low risk" activities but said bans would remain on schools and large gatherings. A "gradual" return of "low-risk" economic activity will be permitted from next Saturday in the provinces and from April 18 in Tehran, Rouhani said.
(Image credit: AP)