The deadly novel coronavirus epidemic will continue to expand in Iran at least until April 8, before it starts to ebb, the director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Ali Askari, has cited the Iranian Health Minister as saying.
Speaking to the state-run TV's Channel one, Ali-Askari noted, "The Minister of Health told a session of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) that, if everything goes well, the novel coronavirus will reach its peak on April 8."
In other words, the Minister, Saeid Namaki, meant that from April 8 onwards, the epidemic begins declining.
At the session, Namaki has also maintained that he expected the decline to continue until June 20, by which time the crisis will be over.
Based on official data published by the Ministry of Health, 8,024 people in Iran have been infected by the virus, while 291 have died of its related disease, Coronavirus Disease 2019, or Covid-19.
However, unofficial data show around 1,000 people in Iran have died of the illness, so far.
Meanwhile, the deputy speaker of Majlis (Islamic parliament), Massoud Pezeshkian, has lambasted Namaki for his indecisiveness in containing the virus.
Speaking at the IRIB's prime time news slot, Pezeshkian insisted, "One cannot fight diseases by a muddle-through approach."
Referring to Majles' Health Commission emergency session attended by Saeid Namaki, the deputy speaker argued, "Yes, until reaching the peak of the disease, many people lose their lives; but that is what we should prevent."
In the meantime, the situation in several provinces and cities of Iran has been described as "critical."
The killer virus is swiftly soaring in Khorasan Razavi province, northeast Iran, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, announced late Tuesday.
The capital of the province, the country's second-largest city, Mashhad, is the holiest Shiite site in Iran.
Hit hard by the fast-spreading coronavirus, Mashhad, is experiencing the worst economic crisis in decades. The number of foreign tourists in the city has dropped to zero, a local hotelier lamented.
According to the Health Ministry's officials, at least 89 have so far fallen victim to Covid-19 in Khorasan Razavi.