The Islamic Republic of Iran is consolidating as the country most affected by the coronavirus health crisis in the Middle East. The Persian state authorities already count one death from COVID-19 every five minutes among the population, an absolutely terrifying figure for the impact of the pandemic.
Many hospitals are running out of capacity to deal with cases of infection, Iranian health authorities said, and the new coronavirus now kills about 300 people a day or one person every five minutes.
On Monday, Iran's Health Ministry reported almost 6,000 new cases of coronavirus, close to the record levels of recent days, bringing the provisional balance of positive cases in the country most affected by the pandemic in the Middle East to 575,000. Specifically, the Iranian health authorities have recorded 574,856 positives, 5,960 more than they did on Sunday, when they reported 6,191 cases in a single day. At least 459,250 patients have overcome the disease, according to the Iranian news agency IRNA. Meanwhile, the death toll is close to 33,000.
The situation is critical. The head of the national coronavirus task force, Alireza Zali, told state television that some hospitals have already run out of beds to treat new patients. "Our doctors and nurses are tired. I urge everyone to respect the protocols," said Zali.
The closure of schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran that was due to end on Monday would now be extended until November 20.
Iran on Monday imposed new restrictions on businesses in 43 cities where the coronavirus infection rates have been alarming in recent days. But the Iranian government defends its management and blames the major problems on the economic sanctions imposed by the United States following America's withdrawal from the nuclear pact sealed in 2015 with the Persian authorities, which limited Iran's atomic programme, particularly in the field of weapons.
In 2018 Donald Trump's US government abandoned the so-called JCPOA (signed together with other nations such as France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China) and imposed sanctions on Iran on the grounds of violations of the nuclear agreement by Iran. Among the most notable punitive measures were those related to the oil trade, the main source of Iranian financing. In response to this determination, President Hassan Rohani pointed out that his nation would continue to trade in its crude oil and threatened to blockade the Straits of Hormuz, the main passage area for the world oil trade.
In this scenario, the Persian state defends its management and blames the current difficult situation of the pandemic on the "medical terrorism" it attributes to the United States for the sanctions. "We'll overcome but NEVER forget", warned the Foreign Ministry in a message posted on Twitter, calling the "US regime" a "cruel collaborator" of the coronavirus.