“If the number of coronavirus victims in Qom is a quarter of what media outlets are reporting, I will resign. The figure is incorrect, and we are sure of our statistics,” said Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, rejecting a claim by an MP that coronavirus has claimed the lives of around 50 people in the city of Qom alone.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi's comments came after MP Ahmad Amirabadi Farhani, who represents Qom, suggested that coronavirus is far more widepsread in Iran than previously thought. The Iranian government announced on Monday morning that the total stood at 12 in the entire country, raising questions over its reporting of the crisis.
On Monday afternoon, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianush Jahanpour revised the total number of cases across the country upwards by 18, from 47 to 61. The death toll remained at 12.
According to Jahanpour, there were eight new cases in Qom, three in Tehran, two each in Markazi, Isfahan, and Gilan, and one in Hamedan.
Amirbadi Farhani warned against trusting the government numbers and said they had been slow to report the true outbreak of the virus in the country.
The government is not “worried enough” about the outbreak, he said, stating: “It is true that we should keep calm, but we must not act like nothing has happened.”