Experts comment on the cases of COVID-19 in Iran, where 95 cases and 15 deaths have been reported (as of 09:00 GMT on 26th February), but the total numbers have been estimated by some to be much higher.
Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, University of East Anglia (UEA), said:
“The situation in Iran worries me more than any of the other countries currently experiencing significant clusters. During the past week there has been a swift increase in the number of new cases reported each day. However, at this stage it is impossible to say how many more cases are out there but have not yet been identified.
“Iran is unlikely to have the facilities to identify, diagnose and manage large numbers of cases and contacts with the same efficiency as other affected countries. Furthermore, the country is in a region with several areas experiencing armed conflict. During conflict many people will be moving around the region, borders are relatively porous and urban and health facilities are often damaged or destroyed. We have already seen spread from Iran to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Afghanistan and this is likely to continue. Should COVID-19 start to spread within conflict areas such as Syria or in areas like Gaza, it will be very difficult to control, and this may amplify the epidemic. The Middle East is connected to countries all around the world and should the epidemic in Iran continue to grow and spread this will be a threat globally and not just within the region.”
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:
The SMC also produced a Factsheet on COVID-19 which is available here: