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294 Foreign Nationals Died Of Covid-19 In Iran According To Deputy Interior Minister

An Iranian employee wearing a protective face mask and gloves checks a face mask on a production line manufacturing face masks at a factory

Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari says COVID-19 has infected 2,852 foreign nationals in Iran, and that 294 of them have died of the virus.

Speaking on Tuesday, September 1, Zolfaqari cited the country's measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus by the visitors and refugees, saying an average of 672,000 illegal foreign nationals in Iran are "deported from every year," and that those who re-enter the country are being kept in camps for a more extended period.

However, Zolfaqari did not explicitly discuss whether social distancing and other measures to contain the deadly virus were being implemented in Iran's refugee camps.

Earlier on August 23, Zolfaqari had claimed that all foreign nationals infected with coronavirus would receive medical treatment free of charge in Iran.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak is choking Iran's tourism industry to the extent that the number of foreign tourists visiting the clergy-dominated Iran has dropped to almost zero.

The coronavirus outbreak in Iran, according to reports, began in Qom and spread to other parts of the country since the city was not quarantined. The city of Qom, located 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) south of the Tehran capital, is the hub of the Twelver-Shi'ites' seminaries, hosting thousands of international students including Chinese scholars. Many observers have repeatedly blamed these Chinese Shi'ites for the rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran.

The Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, expressed concern last March over Afghan refugees returning to the country from Iran. Later, the first case of coronavirus was reported in the Afgan city of Herat, located near the country's border with Iran. On August 5, the Afghan Ministry of Health announced that about ten million people in Afghanistan, or one-third of Afghanistan's total population, had been infected with coronavirus.

Iranian authorities maintain that at least 4 trillion rials (nearly $95 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) have been spent to treat registered foreign nationals who tested positive for the virus.