Iran’s health ministry announced on Wednesday that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country passed the 100,000 mark, with an uptick in new infections this week.
The spokesperson of the ministry, Kianoush Jahanpour, told the media that as of May 6, 6418 people have fallen victim to COVID-19, and the number of people tested positive for the deadly virus reached 101,650.
Official numbers announced daily by the health ministry are met with skepticism by many who say that with limited testing, many cases go unreported and many deaths are registered as pneumonia. Consecutive investigations conducted by Radio Farda in March and April did reveal a big discrepancy between what the ministry was reporting and what a compilation of local media reports and statements by hospital officials revealed.
Meanwhile, Jahanpour maintained that the number of people who recovered from the disease in Iran is 81,587 which amounted to eighty percent of the total cases officially identified. At the same time, Jahanpour disclosed that 2,735 of patients were in critical condition.
Earlier, in a tweet, Jahanpour had warned about the "gradual rise" of coronavirus infections in fifteen out of 31 provinces over the past few days.Without naming the hard-hit provinces, he insisted, "At the moment we cannot judge decisively, and should wait a few days to see what the statistics will show."
Furthermore, he reiterated that the Ministry of Health did not intend to announce the names of the so-called “white areas” or regions with no coronavirus hospitalizations in the past two weeks.
While the statistics from the Ministry of Health on the number of casualties are published daily, the Islamic Republic's National Civil Registration Organization has not published the overall death toll for the country for the winter months.
A spokesman admitted on May 5 that the agency will not be disclosing the country's death toll for the winter of 2020, at the request of the National Headquarters to Fight Coronavirus.
Earlier, a member of the Tehran City Council said that 13,000 people were buried in the capital’s main cemetery in March and April 2020, much higher than in the previous year. Reports from the Parliament Research Center and statements by the head of the country's medical system organization also confirm that number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Iran are much higher than the official figures announced by the Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, Tasnim News Agency, has quoted a parliamentary commission member as saying a second wave of coronavirus outbreak in the so-called white areas is possible due to lifting of travel restrictions.
But as the number of new infections have jumped and amid warnings by several officials, the government is intent on reopening several religious sites in white areas, reinforcing fears of a second wave.