Daniel Halliday
Mar 15 · Last update 1 day ago.

Why is the coronavirus so bad in Iran?

The World Health Organisation declared the 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) a pandemic on the 11th March 2020, but by this time there had already been hundreds of deaths in Iran. However there has been some controversy around the official government figures and assessment of the scale of the virus in the country, and accusations may lead us to believe there is a darker side to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran. Why has this pandemic had such a damaging impact on Iran? who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---11-march-2020 www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200302_05
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Inept leadership
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Close trade relationship with China
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Preparedness
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It has not been taken as seriously as it should have
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Iran doesn’t have the money to deal with COVID-19
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Inept leadership

Iran quickly had the second most aggressive viral outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic after China, though this has since been overtaken by a number of countries, the scale of the outbreak here was largely due to political mismanagement of the situation. According to doctor and author of numerous books on disease epidemics in Iran, Amir Afkhami, “Tehran’s lack of transparency and unwillingness to take robust measures such as social distancing and quarantine, particularly at the epicenter of the outbreak, helped spread the virus” [1]. These criticisms were mirrored by numerous sources, and the government of Iran handled this by attempting to cover up the scale of the pandemic in the country, clear from the number of mass graves outside the city of Qom. Through trying to cover up about how bad it really is Iran’s leaders risk making the outbreak worse still as other nations will find it increasingly difficult to offer assistance.

nytimes.com/2020/03/17/world/middleeast/coronavirus-iran-rouhani.html washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/coronavirus-epidemic-in-iran-the-us-must-do-more [1] theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/coronavirus-iran-mass-graves-qom ibtimes.com/how-bad-coronavirus-iran-images-mass-grave-indicate-situation-worse-government-admits-2939004

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 1
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Close trade relationship with China

It is clear that the virus spread so quickly to Iran due to their close trade relationship with China, China being the main benefactor of Iran’s heavily sanctioned oil industry. But while the virus is thought to have arrived in the country through an Iranian merchant who travelled regularly between Wuhan and Qom - the virus epicentre in Iran, it is likely that the virus could have had numerous vectors helping it spread in Iran much faster than elsewhere. Either way in the two weeks between the merchant’s travel and news of his death from the virus a cascade of Iranians could have been infected, proving this to be more of a dangerous trade relationship for Iran than for China.

newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-iran-became-a-new-epicenter-of-the-coronavirus-outbreak freebeacon.com/national-security/china-becomes-irans-largest-trade-partner en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-s-health-minister-says-virus-came-from-china-travel/30449759.html

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 1
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Preparedness

The reason for such a bad spread of the coronavirus in Iran is the same for all countries that have experienced a high fatality rate, and regardless of country-specific drivers, the overarching reason for highly fatal outbreaks is a lack of preparedness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has long warned of a potential disease pandemic, they called “Disease X” in an effort to highlight the danger posed by novel or previously unknown pathogens. The WHO recommended focussing on whole classes of virus not individual strains and laid out clear guidelines both before and during the onset of COVID-19 when it was an epidemic, but despite this many countries were and continue to be ill prepared. Similar to Iran, Italy had a bad outbreak regardless of preparedness, and now the US seems to be going in an even worse direction despite a number of high profile organisations running a forbidding simulation of a coronavirus pandemic in October 2019, in an attempt to raise awareness around a lack of global pandemic preparedness.

origin.who.int/blueprint/priority-diseases/en news.yahoo.com/why-italys-coronavirus-outbreak-bad-181829021.html centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 1
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It has not been taken as seriously as it should have

People are not taking government advice to self isolate and only go out for food and medicine seriously in Iran, and the government have recently sent the military out onto the streets to force people to stay home. Similar to what happened in Italy in the early onset of the virus, many continued with normal life, however distrust of government made this situation more pronounced in Iran. However there were even videos posted online of some people kissing or licking shrines and religious sites in Qom, the epicentre of the outbreak in Iran, this was to demonstrate their faith, but may have worsened the outbreak in the country substantially.

reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-iran-toll/iran-calls-on-people-to-stay-at-home-as-death-toll-rises-to-43-idUSKBN20N0GM nytimes.com/2020/02/24/world/middleeast/coronavirus-iran.html breitbart.com/middle-east/2020/03/02/watch-iranian-muslims-lick-kiss-shrines-say-they-are-not-scared-of-coronavirus

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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Iran doesn’t have the money to deal with COVID-19

While China built multiple hospitals in a week, Iran cannot afford basic medical supplies. The United States is still sanctioning Iran, these sanctions are crippling the economy normally, and currently the country has a shortage of basic equipment in order to deal with the virus, even basics such as masks are in short supply in hospitals. Pandemics don’t care what side of a debate you are on, what religion you are, or who your country is selling weapons to; we need a global healthcare system to deal with issues as big as this, it should be recognised and accepted as a universal human right that every human deserves basic healthcare. Iran doesn’t have the money to deal with coronavirus, the country has already pleaded with the US and the UN to lift American sanctions so that they can better deal with the outbreak, and has likewise requested $5 billion emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

ibtimes.com/how-bad-coronavirus-iran-images-mass-grave-indicate-situation-worse-government-admits-2939004 washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/coronavirus-epidemic-in-iran-the-us-must-do-more one.org/international/blog/coronavirus-invest-global-health youtu.be/O5mMW6dZtfw?t=784

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 16
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DH edited this paragraph
While China built multiple hospitals in a week, Iran cannot afford basic medical supplies. The United States is still sanctioning Iran, these sanctions are crippling the economy normally, and currently the country has a shortage of basic equipment in order to deal with the virus, even basics such as masks are in short supply in hospitals. Pandemics don’t care what side of a debate you are on, what religion you are, or who your country is selling weapons to; we need a global healthcare system to deal with issues as big as this, it should be recognised and accepted as a universal human right that every human deserves basic healthcare. Iran doesn’t have the money to deal with coronavirus, the country has already pleaded with the US and the UN to lift American sanctions so that they can better deal with the outbreak, and has likewise requested $5 billion emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
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