Conflicting claims emerged on Monday about the number of people who have died as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.
An Iranian lawmaker has claimed that 50 people have died, and blamed Iran’s health ministry for failing to tackle the spread of the virus.
Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, a lawmaker from Qom — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran — suggested that the outbreak was far larger than previously reported.
“10 people are dying in Qom daily, the number of people who have died from coronavirus until last night (Sunday night) is up to 50 people,” Farahani told the semi-official News Agency Ilna on Monday.
“The minister of health is to blame,” Farahani added. “Qom is not doing well in terms of the spread of the coronavirus, and I think the government’s performance in controlling the virus has failed.”
But the health ministry denied his claims during a news conference, with a ministry spokesman saying there were 12 confirmed deaths and 61 confirmed cases across the country.
“No one has access to our information, sometimes there is a misunderstanding, because the symptoms of the flu and [the coronavirus] are similar,” Iraj Harirchi, the health ministry spokesman, said Monday.
On Sunday, Iran’s government announced that universities and schools in 14 provinces, including in the capital Tehran, would be closed for a week.
Soccer matches in different leagues will continue but without audiences at the stadiums, according to state news agency IRNA.