Iran rejects ‘foreign’ help as virus death toll nears 2,000

A senior Iranian official rules out “foreign” help on the ground to deal with the coronavirus epidemic after an offer from a France-based medical charity, as the country’s death toll from the illness nears 2,000.

“Due to Iran’s national mobilization against the virus and the full use of the medical capacity of the armed forces, it is not necessary for now for hospital beds to be set up by foreign forces, and their presence is ruled out,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, advisor to Iran’s health minister, says on Twitter.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) had said Sunday that it planned to send a nine-member team and equipment to set up a 50-bed hospital, stirring opposition from ultra-conservative circles in the Islamic Republic who charged that MSF staff would serve as “spies.”

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour earlier said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected with the new coronavirus.

He announced 122 new deaths from the virus, raising the official toll to 1,934 in one of the world’s worst hit countries.

AFP

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