Iran's Deputy Minister of Health announced June 24 that "forty percent of residents in the provinces of Qom and Gilan have contracted the coronavirus, while the number in Tehran is about fifteen percent.
At the same time, the spokeswoman of the health ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, announced that 9,996 have so far died of COVID-19. She also announced the official number of people infected by the deadly virus has reached 212,501.
However, Iran’s official COVID-19 figures have been repeatedly questioned by some members of parliament and other officials. They have asserted that the real coronavirus-related death toll in Iran is much higher than what the health ministry releases as official figures.
If 15 percent of people in Tehran are infected, that alone means more than a million cases. The health ministry officials did not explain the contradiction between the official numbers and their warning about such a high rate for the pandemic.
Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Health have refused to provide separate statistics on the COVID-19 victims for different provinces since they started to report to the public. Soon, the provincial authorities were also banned from reporting their local numbers.
On the same day, Iran's Deputy Minister of Health, Alireza Raeesi, announced that in some provinces, such as Qom and Gilan, "about forty percent" of people, and in Tehran, nearly "fifteen percent" of the residents were infected with the coronavirus.
Raeesi told a video conference at the Ministry of Health that the extent of the pandemic in other provinces was between four to five percent.
At the same time, Raeesi denied the start of the second wave of coronavirus in Iran, arguing that the country had not reached the "downward trend" of the first stage to experience the second wave.
Iran's Deputy Health Minister also stressed that the government, under U.S. sanctions, could not extend the lockdown while people are economically suffering.
"The United States has allocated $ 114 billion and Britain $ 22 billion to fight coronavirus," Raeesi lamented, adding that, for the same purpose, the government was promised to receive one billion euros (approximately $1.1 billion) from the country's National Development Fund. Nonetheless, he disclosed, "We should be realistic. Five months after the coronavirus outbreak, the government has only received thirty percent of the promised money."
Moreover, Raeesi called on the people to respect health and hygiene regulations and announced that using face masks in public places will become compulsory in the coming days.