In Iran, Leaked Data Undercuts Official Narrative

A medical team in Iraq checks on travellers returning from Iran. February 21, 2020. Image: Hussein Faleh/AFP/Getty
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A medical team in Iraq checks on travellers returning from Iran. February 21, 2020. Image: Hussein Faleh/AFP/Getty

Iran’s COVID-19 deaths are almost triple the health ministry’s official reports—suggesting deliberate suppression of data, according to a BBC Persian Serviceinvestigation.

Leaked government records show almost 42,000 likely COVID-19 deaths by July 20, and 451,024 infections—versus the health ministry’s tally of 14,405 and 278,827, respectively.

Senior health ministry officials ignored pleas for resources to curb COVID-19 in Iranian prisons, Amnesty International reports. Leaked documents describe “catastrophically unequipped” prisons, lacking protective equipment, disinfectants, and essential medical devices.

The reports starkly contradict official statements lauding Iran’s “exemplary” initiatives to protect prisoners.

 

Syrian Rulers Suppress the Truth, Not the Virus

In government-held parts of Syria, the regime is intimidating doctors into silence about hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
 
Doctors are forced to treat patients in dirty rooms without enough protective gear or medicine. Intelligence officers watching over the hospitals warn doctors against speaking out. “We are all scared, all the time,” said one worker.
 
Syria's health ministry reports just 757 cases and 43 deaths across the country. But Akjemal Magtymova, Syria’s WHO representative, and others say cases are rising steeply. 
 
NPR

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