Iran Virus Toll Rises as Rouhani Claims Health System is Strong

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 2,517 on Saturday, despite President Hassan Rouhani claiming that the country’s health infrastructure is strong.

There were with 139 fatalities in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

The total number of cases diagnosed so far rose by 3,076 to 35,408, he said on state TV, adding 3,206 were in a critical condition.

But Rouhani said that Iran’s health system is ready to cope with a possible escalation in coronavirus cases.

Iran is among the few countries worldwide severely affected by the pandemic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused China of responsibility for spreading the virus by not stopping it quickly when it first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

He has also sharply criticized the coronavirus response of Iran, which kept flights going to China, its vital economic partner in the face of US sanctions.

The Trump administration has kept sweeping sanctions on Iran.

Pompeo, in a recent interview, said Iran would use any economic relief to pursue nuclear weapons and back Iraqi militias who have increasingly fought a proxy war with US forces.

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