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Iranian officials send mixed signals on coronavirus fight

Iran’s president once again projected a positive picture on his government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, contradicting alarms raised by health officials.

In his latest televised address on the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani defended his government’s handling of the crisis, arguing that the containment measures adopted in his country were more efficient than the “Chinese and European models.” Rouhani said the infection rate in “all provinces, without an exception, has witnessed a downward trend,” a sign that Iran is “on the right track.” 

Those comments, however, sharply contrasted statements of serious caution from health officials closely battling the pandemic in hardest-hit areas, including the northern province of Gilan. Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, the Health Ministry representative in the province, has raised the alarm on a “more severe wave of transmissions ahead.” According to Ghorbani, “given the fatigue inflicted upon the medical workers, the looming peak could be of more harmful consequences than before.” The official had already criticized the Rouhani government for refusing to introduce timely social distancing measures.

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