Multiple reports out of Iran claim that the extent of damage that the deadly novel coronavirus strain - COVID 19 has wreaked inside Iran, and the number of deaths is much higher than what it is officially being reported.
As per the latest official reports, the death toll in Iran due to COVID 19 rose to 43, the highest number outside of China. The total number of coronavirus positive cases currently stands at 593 and Iranian authorities now have accepted that there has been a 58 percent jump in confirmed infections.
But the authorities have denied a BBC Persia report that the deaths totaled at least 210 â a vastly higher figure â based on the news service's own survey of Iranian hospitals.
The BBC report claimed that most of the COVID 19 victims are from the capital, Tehran, and the city of Qom, where the first coronavirus cases had emerged.
What is even more startling is that country's main opposition party, besides other sources have claimed that: "Due to the regime's criminal cover-up and mismanagement of medical and health care resources, the death toll for the COVID-19 has exceeded 500 as of Saturday evening, February 29, 2020."
The surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in Iran has also worried that the World Health Organization especially as the outbreak in Iran can't be traced directly back to China.
The cases, which suggest rapid spread in a country outside of the epidemic's center in China, are "very worrisome," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Friday at a press briefing in Geneva. The window of opportunity to stop the spread in countries outside the place where it began is "really narrowing," he said. "This outbreak could go in any direction."
Though initially, Iranian government officials tried to play down COVID 19 as a manageable problem and accused foreign powers of using it as a scare tactic - the regime now has been pushed to act as several of its politicians have contracted the deadly virus.
At least seven officials have been infected, including a top female official in the cabinet and a Health Ministry deputy who has been leading the coronavirus response. As a preventive measure, the Iranian authorities have closed schools, canceled Friday prayers and moved to restrict visitors from China.
Amidst the conflict reports, angry protesters in Iran burned down a hospital in Iran. A video of the incident published online showed Iranian protesters torching a clinic dubbed as "Corona Hospital" by Iranian locals in Bandar Abbas because the local residents did not want the government to quarantine coronavirus patients from Qom in their town.