Israel’s Channel 13 has quoted Mossad chief Yossi Cohen as saying that in Iran and some Arab states, the situation with the coronavirus was much more complicated than these countries’ governments are reporting.
“In Lebanon, Iraq and Syria there is a high morbidity and they’re lying”, Cohen claimed during a press briefing on Thursday.
He asserted that “the number of infected and dead that the Iranians are reporting is also not true”, insisting that the figures that he is familiar with “are much higher”.
The claims come after Iran’s state television reported on Thursday that at least 1,030 new COVID-19 cases had been confirmed and that 90 people had died since Wednesday, which brought the total number of fatalities in the Islamic Republic to 5,481.
At the same time, Iran's Health Minister Saeed Namak was cited by the country’s state-run IRNA news agency as saying Wednesday that over the past 18 days, “thanks to divine blessing as well as the efforts of our colleagues […] we were able to reduce the number of new patients by 53% and the death toll by 30% daily”.
The current COVID-19 death toll in Iran doesn’t change the Islamic Republic's status as the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the virus. Iraq, in turn, earlier confirmed 1,677 cases and 83 deaths, with Lebanon reporting 688 infections and 22 fatalities. In Syria, there are just 42 confirmed cases, with three deaths.
Globally, the World Health Organisation put the number of conformed coronavirus infections at 2,544,792, with the death toll standing at 175,694.