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Expert: Iran fails to take timely measures for COVID-19

March 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Fire fighters disinfect the streets as a precaution to the coronavirus in Tehran, Iran on 6 March 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian authorities failed to effectively implement quarantine measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, an Iranian virologist said Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Officials should have taken strict measures before the virus known as COVID-19 spread across the country, Hossein Keyvani, a professor at Iran University of Medical Sciences Virology Department in Tehran, told Anadolu Agency.

“The government failed to quarantine and disinfect all cities before it was too late,” Keyvani said. “We must comply with the health rules to protect from the disease.”

Underlining that nearly 1,000 people are tested for the virus every day at his hospital, Keyvani said health officials do not exactly know how many people have been infected because Iran does not have the capacity to test millions of people.

The U.S.’s unilateral sanctions on Iran do not directly affect the fight against the virus because sanctions have no impact on diagnosis and treatment processes.

READ: Iran seeks $5bn emergency funding as 10,000 coronavirus cases detected

Iran is one of the worst-hit countries from the virus with the death toll continuing to climb.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose to 429, the state TV reported on Thursday.

Authorities said 75 people died in the last 24 hours, with confirmed cases rising to more than 10,000, state TV quoted Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 4,600, with more than 124,500 confirmed cases, according to the WHO.

It originated in the central city of Wuhan, China last December and has spread to 114 countries.

As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, many governments closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries.

READ: Iran disinfects street to stop coronavirus