Coronavirus: Iran lacks doctors and beds as virus surges again, says official

Iran is Middle East country hardest hit by pandemic

Mofid Children's Hospital in Tehran is treating young people infected with the coronavirus. Reuters
Mofid Children's Hospital in Tehran is treating young people infected with the coronavirus. Reuters

Hospitals in Iran have acute shortages of medical staff and beds as the country tackles a powerful second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official at Tehran’s anti-coronavirus task force said on Thursday.

Iran, the Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic, began relaxing its lockdown in mid-April.

But a second wave of infections emerged in early June and has proven much more serious than the first one, said Reza Jalili Khoshnood, who is infected, the semi-official Isna news agency reported.

Iran recorded 13,608 related deaths as of Thursday, including 198 in the previous 24 hours, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.

Mr Khoshnood said that at one hospital – Tehran’s Shohada, in which he is being treated – 172 medical staff have been infected or are caring for sick family members.

He said there were shortages of beds, including in intensive care units.

Mr Khoshnood's comments contrast with President Hassan Rouhani’s regular assurances that Iran has sufficient supplies of medical personnel and facilities.

Ms Lari said the total number of diagnosed cases in the country had reached 267,061, up by 2,500 in the past 24 hours.

Tehran on Thursday again closed mosques, gyms and swimming pools, and delayed exams and school openings.

Iranian authorities are concerned that tougher measures against Covid-19 could wreck an economy already reeling under US sanctions.

Mr Rouhani on Saturday told Cabinet that bringing back a lockdown in the country could lead to street protests over the economic situation.

He said the easiest way to fight the virus was to close off all activities, but “then people come and stage protests because of chaos, famine and problems”.

Coronavirus around the Middle East

Mofid Children's Hospital in Tehran is treating young people infected with the coronavirus. Reuters
Mofid Children's Hospital in Tehran is treating young people infected with the coronavirus. Reuters

Updated: July 17, 2020 01:55 AM

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