Officials from Iran’s health ministry have criticized China for its “inaccurate” reports regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), describing it as a “bitter joke.”
“It seems that the statistics presented by China were a bitter joke because many across the world thought the disease [caused by COVID-19] was similar to influenza and had a low fatality rate,” Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the health ministry said on April 5, according to a report by the state-owned IRNA.
“We use the word ‘epidemic’ when one percent of the population contracts a disease. Likewise, we cannot say we are facing an epidemic in all parts of Iran. In some parts of the country there are individual cases of infection. In most parts of the country the number of infections is surging, and some cities are at the ‘epidemic’ stage. Even in South Korea, there is no epidemic,” he added.
Meanwhile, officials in Iran’s foreign ministry believe the government and people of China lead the way in suppressing coronavirus and generously aiding countries across the world.
“The Chinese bravery, dedication & professionalism in COVID19 containment deserve acknowledgment. Iran has always been thankful to China in these trying times,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry wrote in his Twitter.
In response to Mousavi’s remarks, Chang Hua, the Chinese ambassador in Iran tweeted that “rumors cannot destroy our friendship.”
The Iranian health ministry announced on April 7 that 27,039 people out of a total of 62,589 infected by the coronavirus have survived, while 3,872 have died. Over the last 24 hours, 133 people in the country have died from the virus.
Iran has sent several aid shipments to China during the height of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. At the same time, China has so far sent several consignments of medical items to Iran.
Iran’s Ambassador to Beijing Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh recently announced that China has, so far, shipped 28 aid consignments to Iran by air.
“The aid supplies include more than 10 million masks, 500 thousand coronavirus diagnosis kits, 300 thousand surgery and isolation outfits, 2.2 million gloves, 350 ventilators, 500 prefabricated hospital rooms and different kinds of hospital equipment,” Keshavarzzadeh said.
On March 31, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has publicly urged China and other nations to be transparent about their outbreaks. He has repeatedly accused China of covering up the extent of the problem and being slow to share information, especially in the weeks after the virus first emerged.