Iran's coronavirus (COVID-19) death toll is underreported due to testing being restricted to sever cases and the toll can be potentially five times higher, Dr. Rick Brennan, Director of Emergency Operations in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Emergencies Program has said.
"The number of cases reported could represent only about a fifth of the real numbers. The reason was that testing, as is the case even in some wealthy European countries, was restricted to severe cases," Dr. Brennan who returned from a mission to Iran last week told Reuters.
According to Brennan the weakest link in Iran's chain of coronavirus management is the data, and he predicted that with Iranian health system rapidly increasing its ability to test, the numbers will go up. "There's a great commitment and they are taking it seriously from the highest level of government," he said.
News reports claim that at least 1,500 have died of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran. However, according to the latest official government report on Monday, the death toll stood at 853.
Iranian government officials blame shortages of medical equipment and test kits on U.S. sanctions. The United States, however, says the sanctions will not impede humanitarian trade with Iran.