Iranian lawmaker claims coronavirus has killed 50 in city of Qom

Iranian lawmaker claims coronavirus has killed 50 in city of Qom
© iStock

A lawmaker representing the Iranian city of Qom said 50 people in the city have died from the coronavirus in February, contradicting national officials’ reported total of 12 deaths nationwide.

Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, the lawmaker, reported the total on Monday in an interview with The Associated Press hours after state television reported 47 total cases nationwide. Tehran has since reported a total of 61 infections but said deaths remain at 12, the AP reported.

Farahani said the deaths date back to Feb. 13, nearly a week before Iran first officially confirmed transmission of the virus Feb. 19. While he did not document the figure, he said more than 250 people are quarantined in the city, which attracts students from throughout the nation to its Shia seminaries. The city has closed its schools amid the quarantine.

“I think the performance of the [President Hassan Rouhani] administration in controlling the virus has not been successful,” Farahani said, according to the AP. “None of the nurses have access to proper protective gear. So far, I have not seen any particular action to confront corona by the administration.”

The spread of the virus in Iran has predominantly been concentrated in Qom but the government has confirmed cases in five cities, including Tehran. Armenia and Georgia have suspended flights between the nations, with Armenia also closing its border for two weeks, while Azerbaijan has temporarily closed two border checkpoints, the AP reported.