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Iran's coronavirus death toll nearly triple what was officially reported: BBC

Published: Updated:

Iran has massively underreported its coronavirus death toll, according to a BBC report, which alleges that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran was almost triple that of the official death toll by the second half of July.

Iran’s health ministry reported 14,634 deaths from coronavirus on July 21, but government records obtained by the BBC’s Persian service say the country had almost 42,000 deaths from the virus by then, indicating that authorities deliberately underreported deaths from the virus.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Iran has also been underreporting the number of coronavirus infections, according to the report.

While the health ministry reported 278,827 cases on July 21, the data received by the BBC says the overall number of cases by that date had exceeded 450,000.

The data only includes information about patients who received treatment at hospitals and excludes those who died of the virus outside of them, the report said. The data also excludes those who did not visit a hospital during the course of their infection.

The capital Tehran has recorded the highest number of deaths in the country with 8,120 deaths as of July 21, according to the report.

The first death in Iran from coronavirus was recorded on January 22, almost a month before the country announced its first case of the virus, according to the report.

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Authorities officially acknowledged the spread of coronavirus to Iran on February 19, but 52 people had already died by then, the report said.

The report concluded that Iranian authorities have deliberately been underreporting coronavirus deaths and infections.

Denying the BBC report, Iranian health authorities said there had been no cover-up.

The BBC said it received the data from an anonymous source who identified themselves as a staff member of an official body in Iran.

The source said they provided the BBC with the data to “shed light on truth” and to end “political games” over the epidemic, according to the report.

The Iranian health ministry has been under pressure from the country’s security apparatus, the report said citing doctors in Iran.

As of Monday, 17,405 in Iran have died from the coronavirus, and there are 312,035 confirmed cases, according to the health ministry.

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