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Iranian NGO official says coronavirus patients more than official estimate


Head of Iran Medical Council has said that the number of people infected by coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran is "definitely" much higher than what the country's Ministry of Health announces.

In remarks on Wednesday, Dr. Mohammad Reza Zafarghandi, who heads the licensing and regulatory body for Iranian healthcare professionals, dismissed the authorities' claim that coronavirus infection has reached its peak in the country.

"Our colleagues' epidemiological studies indicate that the coronavirus infection rate is still on the rise," he noted and added: "If we manage to increase the period of isolation and staying at home by 15% to 20%, we will pass the peak point sooner, and that could happen in late March. Failing to do so and carrying on our current manner, we might reach the peak point in May or even later". 

However, President Hassan Rouhani, on the same day, once again insisted that the two provinces of Qom, the epicenter of the deadly virus outbreak, and Gilan which turned into a second hotspot, are already past the peak point of the infection.

Dr. Zafarghandi noted: "The data provided by the Ministry of Health is formulated on the basis of the World Health Organization's (WHO) protocols, that is, on the number of patients tested positive. According to Dr. Zafarghandi many patients who are admitted to hospitals on the basis of their CT Scan results and those who stay at home and have not been tested are not included in the official statistics.