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Health Official In Iran Says 'Exciting Slogans' Will Not Defeat Coronavirus

Dr. Alireza Zali, professor of neurosurgery, President of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences who is in charge of Tehran's Coronavirus Combat Headquarters. FILE PHOTO

The coordinator of anti-coronavirus operations in Iran’s capital says “exciting slogans” are not an answer to the pandemic and “efficient management” should be used to fight the pandemic.

As the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of abating in Iran and the situation in the capital is critical, Dr. Alireza Zali says Greater Tehran with a dense population of more than 15 million is different from smaller cities.

Doctor Zali told semi-official ISNA news website that “defeating coronavirus” is more an “exciting slogan” than a realistic statement. He added it is not wise to raise the “flag of glory” against the pandemic. Instead, officials should learn from successful models in other countries and speak scientifically.

Iran’s health officials have repeatedly urged tougher restrictions and quarantines to control the pandemic, which started in mid-February. But government policy has been haphazard and focused on not shutting down the economy. As a result, Iran which was the second hotspot after China is still grappling with the first wave of the pandemic.

Dr. Zali warned that there will be new waves of infections in the country.

He is one of the health officials in Iran who have rejected the idea of “herd immunity”, arguing that the human cost of letting the virus spread will be simply too high.

Tehran officials in recent days have spoken of 700 people being hospitalized daily in the capita and 5-10 percent dying from COVID-19.

Independent media and some government institutions have estimated that Iran’s 17,000 official death toll is an underestimation and the real figure can be double or triple.