The representative of Iran’s health minister in the northern province of Gilan is quoted as saying that more than 200 people have died of coronavirus in that province alone.
A local news website quoted Mohammad Hossein Qorbani as saying on Sunday, March 8 in a special meeting of Gilan’s health commission that around 800-900 are infected with the virus in the province.
The number of deaths Qorbani has announced for Gilan is more than the total national figure of 194 announced by the government on Sunday.
Hundreds of messages on social media and eye-witness accounts have cast doubt on casualty figures being announced daily by the central government. People claim many more have died, and, in some instances, bodies are even buried in mass graves without needed safety measures.
Iran’s first coronavirus cases were revealed by officials on February 19 and two people died on the same day, leading to speculations that the presence of the disease was known to the government much earlier than their official announcement.
The holy city of Qom was the epicenter of the epidemic in February but the government refused to quarantine the city and soon dozens of cases were reported in the capital Tehran and in the northern provinces, with popular resort areas.