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Shocking video shows dozens of corpses in Iran 'awaiting burial', as coronavirus death toll rises

The video surfaced on social media this week [Twitter]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2020

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At least 77 people have died in Iran after contracting the novel coronavirus, reports said on Tuesday, as a shocking video of unburied bodies surfaced online.
A shocking video that surfaced on social media platforms this week, provided an insight into Iran's coronavirus outbreak which has killed at least 77 people.

The video, which seems to have been filmed inside one of Iran's hospitals, shows corpses wrapped in black bags and white shrouds awaiting burial.

A dozen or so corpses are lined up along the floor while others are being prepared by doctors in multiple rooms across the facility.

According to the medical personnel filming the video, the facility is based in Iran's Shia holy city of Qom, where the outbreak in the country was first detected.

The bodies, all of which are thought to have died after contracting the novel coronavirus, have been left at the facility for a few days, the man adds.

It is unclear why they have not yet been buried, but an Iranian journalist who posted the video on Twitter suggested a lack of space to bury the dead as being the reason.

Earlier this week, Iranian authorities in Qom arrested a man who was seen licking a Muslim shrine in defiance of measures to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Read also: Applying essential oil to anus 'cures coronavirus': Iranian cleric

Ayatollah Mohammad Saidi, head of the Fatima Masumeh mausoleum in Qom, insisted last week that places of worship should remain open despite the outbreak.

"This sacred shrine [is] a house of healing," he said, inviting pilgrims to come so that they can be "healed of their physical and spiritual illnesses". 

Two days earlier, Qom's top security body had ordered the suspension of collective prayers in the province.

It also ordered a deep clean of the mausoleum and the installation of barriers to keep people back from a tomb whose ornate silver-plated enclosure is usually touched or kissed by the faithful.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki later announced restrictions on the entry to Shia holy sites.

However, Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani issued a fatwa on Saturday calling on the population to "take into account" the health ministry's recommendations.

Iran has seen the deadliest outbreak of the new coronavirus outside of China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Experts are worried over Iran's response to the crisis, as the country's rate of deaths to infections, around 5.5 percent, is much higher than other countries.

The latest official death toll announced by Iran stands at 77, though there are fears that the Islamic Republic may be downplaying the number.

Across the wider MENA region, there are over 1,688 cases of the coronavirus, the majority of which are linked back to Iran, which has 1,501 cases.

On Monday, a senior member of Iran's advisory council died after contracting the novel coronavirus, the first top official to succumb to the illness as the Islamic Republic struggles to contain the outbreak.

Read more: How the Middle East is dealing with coronavirus

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi, who is among the officials that advise the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, died at the age of 71 at a Tehran hospital.

On Saturday, recently-elected Iranian MP Mohammed Ali Ramazani died after being tested positive for the deadly virus a few days earlier, The Independent reported.

One of Iran's seven vice presidents, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi are among several senior officials who have been infected.

Many of Iran's neighbours have imposed restrictions on travel to and from the Islamic Republic.

Worldwide, more than 91,000 case have been confirmed and the death toll stands at 3,116.

On Tuesday, the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), warned the world has entered uncharted territory in its battle against the deadly coronavirus.

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