Angry protesters in Iran torched a hospital in a town in Iran after it emerged that coronavirus patients from Qom were being quarantined there. An earlier report had claimed that at least 200 coronavirus patients had died in Qom.
The clinic, which is being dubbed as "Corona Hospital" by Iranian locals is located in the Iranian city of Bandar Abbas and was set on fire on Friday because the local residents did not want the government to quarantine coronavirus patients from another city in their town, according to Iranian media reports.
Protesters in large numbers first gathered outside the hospital chanting slogans against the government before it was burned down.
Iran's semi-official state news broadcaster - Fars News Agency - citing government officials said that the claims of people being transferred to the southern Bandar Abbas city as "unfounded rumors" and instead asked the local residents not to believe any of the rumors being spread over the Internet.
Since the coronavirus outbreak that claimed several lives, Iran has scrambled to bring the COVID 19 cases under control, shutting schools, suspending cultural and sporting events and halting meetings of the cabinet and parliament.
The Iranian health ministry on Saturday reported nine new deaths and a 53 percent jump in infections over the previous 24 hours taking the overall totals to 43 deaths and 593 cases.
It was the highest number of new cases for a single day since Iran announced its first two deaths in Qom, a center for Islamic studies and pilgrims from abroad, on February 19.
On Friday, BBC's Persian-language service claimed that at least 210 people had died in the COVID-19 outbreak in Qom and in the capital Tehran. The report since then has spread quite a panic in the country, while the Iranian government officials have claimed the report to be "unfounded."
Iranian health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour accused foreign media of spreading misinformation about the outbreak as he announced the new figures on Saturday.
"Given the rumors and false and contradictory content that may be published from satellite networks or media which are not well-intentioned towards Iranian people, I must say that what we publish as definitive statistics is based on the latest definitive findings of laboratory tests," he told a televised news conference.