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The New Arab Staff

Data leak reveals coronavirus deaths in Iran 'nearly three times higher'

Iran has suffered from the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 August, 2020

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A recent report suggests coronavirus figures in Iran have been manipulated.
The number of deaths in Iran from coronavirus infection may exceed official reports, the BBC reported on Monday, citing leaked data obtained by its Persian service.

Coronavirus deaths in the country could reportedly reach nearly 42,000. The figure would be nearly triple the numbers released by the government.

Iran has suffered from the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak, confirming over 312,000 total infections resulting in over 17,000 deaths according to official figures.

Over the weekend, Iran's health ministry reported the highest daily number of cases in almost a month at over 2,600.

According to the BBC, the leaked data – covering a period from January to July 20 – also indicates that the number of infections stood at 451,024 rather than the official figure of 278,827 by July 20.

The BBC's investigation also found the first Covid-19 death in Iran occured nearly a month before an infection was announced officially by the Iranian government. 

Information leaked to the BBC revealed Iranian authorities had reported "significantly lower daily numbers despite having a record of all deaths", the article said, suggesting a cover-up by Iran.

Read also: Coronavirus-hit Iran warns against weddings and funerals

Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sparked confusion and fear after announcing that 25 million Iranians may have been infected with the coronavirus – a figure drastically higher than the country's official tally.

After a lull in deaths and infections from April to May, the Islamic Republic is seeing a renewed surge in coronavirus infection. Figures in provinces first hit by the virus, including the holy city of Qom, have been on the rise in recent days.

Official figures now show an increase in deaths and infections since the end of June, while mask-wearing became compulsory. 

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