Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that the government will not impose quarantines on Iranian cities to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country, state news agency IRNA reports.
Iran has the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with 15 deaths and 139 cases recorded. In other parts of the world, the virus has had a death rate of around 1-2%, raising speculation over whether the number of cases in Iran might have been grossly underreported or if thousands of cases have possibly gone undetected.
Many cases in the Middle East appear to be linked to the Iranian province of Qom, where there are several religious sites frequently visited by Iranians and foreign tourists.
All cases reported in Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have a link to Qom.
In his comments on the virus, Rouhani criticized the United States, saying that the virus “should not become a weapon at the hand of our enemies,” the semi-official Mehrs news agency reported.
“Americans and our enemies have wanted to halt our production and economic activities in this two-year period now with their sanctions and propaganda.”
He said Iran cannot allow the US to stop the country’s social activities through the fear of the virus, adding, “Americans better take care of thousands of flu casualties in their own country,” according to Mehr.