A politician has called for the immediate quarantine of the holy city of Qom and another city, insisting that the situation is so bad that the streets are lined with dead bodies.
Abdul Karim Hosseinzadeh, the member of parliament representing Naghadeh, warned that if Qom and Rasht are not quarantined, Iran will have the highest death toll from coronavirus in the world.
"Corpses in Qom are piling up," the MP posted on Twitter. He also drew attention to "the helpless people of Rasht" and criticized authorities’ failure to inform citizens in a timely manner so they could protect themselves from the virus. He said Qom should have been quarantined as soon as it was identified as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran.
According to some reports, the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) stopped Qom from being quarantined because of its religious importance. Hossein Taeb, head of the IRGC intelligence unit, described Qom as "the honor of Islam" at a meeting of the Supreme National Security Council and argued that isolating the holy capital would only play into the hands of the US media.
Since the outbreak began in Qom during the third week in February, the virus has spread throughout most provinces in Iran.
According to the latest official statistics, 3,513 people in Iran have been infected with COVID-19 and 107 have died.
Unofficial statistics on the number of people infected with the virus show much larger numbers, and experts have warned that by the end of the Iranian month of Esfand [22 March], 40 percent of Tehran's population will be infected with the coronavirus.