Street scene in Tehran, Iran, May 9, 2020 (AFP)
Iran’s officials and State media are ignoring a resurgence in Coronavirus, a month after the Government began reopening businesses and mosques.
The Health Ministry announced 1,958 new cases on Wednesday. It was the highest daily increase since April 10, a day before “low-risk” businesses were allowed to reopen across Iran.
On May 2, the daily rise was 802 cases, the lowest since March.
The Ministry announced another 50 deaths yesterday, taking the official’s toll to 6,783.
But President Hassan Rouhani preferred to focus on Iran’s troubled economy on Wednesday. He told the Economic Coordination Board that emphasis must be on provision of basic goods and management of supply and demand.
Rouhani did not mention the virus as he said, “The goal of all efforts must be to improve the economic conditions and people’s living conditions and strengthen hope for the future.”
The message echoed that of the Supreme Leader, who has proclaimed the Iranian year to be one of “Surge in Production”. Last week Ayatollah Khamenei said that surge would “neutralize” Coronavirus.
English-language State outlet Press TV does not mention Wednesday’s figures. Instead it headlines a brief story, “Iran’s Care Home Death Toll From Coronavirus Among Lowest in the World”. The article is unsupported by statistics or even by any quote from officials.
The site also proclaims a lifting of export bans on test kits and personal protective equipment. It highlights the Foreign Ministry’s statement that a high US Coronavirus death toll among African Americans is due to Donald Trump’s “rampant racism“.
The coverage supports Rouhani’s declaration on Tuesday of success in handling Coronavirus, despite the official death toll and evaluations by analysts, medics, and even Iranian officials that the real number is far higher.