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WATCH: Iranians pelt oncoming cars with stones 'to stop COVID-19 transmission' Open in fullscreen

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WATCH: Iranians pelt oncoming cars with stones 'to stop COVID-19 transmission'

Iran has stopped short of a full lockdown despite the COVID-19 crisis [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 March, 2020

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While the government stops short of road and travel restrictions despite the coronavirus crisis in Iran, some residents are allegedly taking matters into their own hands.
Unrest seems to be brewing in Iran over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, according to footage circulating on social media.

A clip purportedly from the southern coastal city of Bandar Abbas shows people standing in the road, throwing stones at oncoming cars.

According to Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze, residents of the city were attempting to ward off cars that could potentially transmit COVID-19 into the city.

The virus has however spread to all of Iran's 31 provinces, including Hormozgan, of which Bandar Abbas is the capital.

Although the video could not be verified, discontent has been on the rise in Iran over a perceived lax response to the deadly crisis, which has hit the Islamic Republic particularly badly.

The government has not yet issued shutdown-style responses as witnessed in China, Italy, France, Spain and other countries affected by the virus. 

Comment: US sanctions on Iran put us all at risk during coronavirus

Although authorities urged Iranians to stay at home during the Persian Nowruz festival, 1.2 million cars were logged travelling across the country by Iranian police in just one day, NYT journalist Farnaz Fassihi reported on Thursday.

Five former health ministers wrote to President Rouhani on Thursday, demanding that he shut down the country and close the roads, but he has so far refused.

Some observers say the economy is simply too weak to withstand a total shutdown of travel and commerce, in part due to crippling US sanctions that have also affected the health care system.

Iran has recorded 18,407 cases of coronavirus and 1,443 deaths. Suspicions have been raised that the true extent of the virus is much higher, in part because the official figures often lag behind reports in local media, and have sometimes been contradicted by provincial authorities.

Iranians have been taking matters into their own hands, with a video circulating on Thursday of volunteers disinfecting streets in Bandar Abbas in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

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