By Jubin Katiraie
However, Iranian medical professionals are faced with officials’ negligence and indifference regardless of their honest efforts on the frontlines to contain the infectious disease.
In this context, the officials’ approach regarding hard-working doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers is a significant factor in weighing the government’s capacity to confront the deadly virus. In May, health officials announced that nearly 10,000 members of the country’s medical personnel had contracted COVID-19, and 170 of them have passed away, according to the Medical Council chair Mohammad Reza Zafarghandi.
Moreover, Iranian authorities have a notorious history in providing fabricated figures and misleading citizens about what really takes place in the country. For instance, over six months after the November 2019 nationwide protests and the brutal crackdown, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that between 200 to 225 protesters were killed while the evidence and accurate documents by the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) prove that the actual death toll is far higher than this number.
However, evidence obtained by citizen reports and official websites shed light on the real scope of the novel coronavirus crisis in Iran.
On June 22, Behzad Khoshmast, head of the Broujerdi Hospital in the city of Borujerd, Lorestan province, realized his facilities were suffering from the lack of medical equipment, human resources, and medication. He added that 40 people from his medical staff have infected with the novel coronavirus.
“Seventeen members of the Borujderdi Hospital medical staff who contracted COVID-19 are on leave and this resulted in criticism from our patients. Also, several of our medical devices are worn out, and we have had problems with the heating and cooling systems in recent days,” Khoshmast said.
Furthermore, Mohammad Shabadi, spokesperson of the COVID-19 Task Force in the city of Bandar-e Mahshahr in Khuzestan province said that their hospitals have reached full capacity and cannot receive new patients.
“In Mahshahr, the hospital has no room for new coronavirus patients anymore. For nearly a month this city has been in a code red state,” Shabandi said on June 21 in an interview with the Asr-e Jonub website.
Meanwhile, a healthcare worker from the city of Mashhad in Razavi Khorasan province reported: “About 250 people with suspicious symptoms come to our hospital every day. Stats cannot display the real dimension of the illness and coronavirus has been inclusive. Over 200 people among every 250 cases are testing positive for COVID-19. Stats from the private facilities are similar to our public facilities. Government health centers can no longer accept new patients.”
Coronavirus condition in Tehran’s hospitals is critical. According to reliable reports tallied by the MEK over 9,000 people have lost their lives in one-fourth of hospitals allocated to treating COVID-19 patients.
“More than 16,000 have died in the hospitals of Tehran province. Over 138 hospitals are accepting coronavirus patients in Tehran province, with a population of 14 million. In just 34 of the 138 hospitals, 9,050 people have died in the past four months. The death toll in Baghiatollah Hospital, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has reached 1,250. The number of people dying in their homes and all other facilities other than hospitals needs to be added to these stats,” MEK’s official website reported on June 22.
One individual from Robat Karim, a suburb area of the Iranian capital Tehran, said: “Robat Karim’s employees register seven or eight deaths every day. Given the hospital’s refrigerator does not have room for more than four corpses per day, employees place two corpses in one drawer of the refrigerator.”
Despite all the disturbing reports, regime officials refuse to reimpose necessary restrictions and insist on their “leap of production” policy at the expense of risking people’s lives and health. These inhuman policies have resulted in public ire and observers are estimating that Iran is on the verge of a robust social storm, particularly while the people are dealing with back-breaking poverty and economic pressures.