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Iran closer to COVID-19 containment, Turkey may become worst-hit in Middle East

It was the sixth day that the official fatality rate has dropped in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.

SNS | New Delhi |

Iranian authorities have said that they were closer to the contain the COVID-19 pandemic in most of the country, while, Turkey was poised to overtake Iran as the hardest-hit country in the Middle East due to rapid growth of new cases.

On Friday, Iran has reported 1,499 new cases of COVID-19 that brought the total number of confirmed cases to 79,494, with 4,958 deaths, according to the media report.

Minister of Health and Medical Education Saeed Namaki said, “Despite circumstances arising from sanctions and economic warfare, no patient was left abandoned behind hospital doors and no patient lacked needed drugs and medical care during the peak of the virus across cities”,

During a press conference, Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said that the latest deaths brought the overall toll to 4,958.

It was the sixth day that the official fatality rate has dropped in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.

Ever since the country reported its first deaths two months ago, there has been speculation abroad that the tolls are higher than officially announced.

A parliamentary report on Tuesday said the officially announced figures were based only on those hospitalised with “severe symptoms”.

In Turkey, 4,353 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number to 78,546.

The death toll surged to 1,769, after 126 more deaths were reported.

Turkey is set to replace Iran as the top country in the region with the most confirmed coronavirus cases as it has been witnessing daily fast growth in the new infections since it reported the first case on March 11.

The government and  the President Hassan Rouhani has struggled to contain the outbreak and keep Iran’s fragile and sanctions-hit economy running.

Iran is to allow small businesses in Tehran to reopen on Saturday, following similar measures for those outside the capital last week.

The move has faced criticism from health experts and even some authorities, but top officials argue that sanctions-hit Iran cannot afford to shut down its economy.