As the COVID-19 crisis in Iran turns grimmer by the day, taxi drivers in Mashhad have been asked to help transport corpses to cemeteries due to the lack of available ambulances. Etemad Online posted video taken at Mashhad’s Qaem Hospital showing 12 corpses inside the morgue, with five others on a waiting list to be registered and an additional dozen or so being dispatched for burial. Unconfirmed figures posted on social media suggest that, on Thursday alone, at least 300 people in Mashhad lost their lives to COVID.
Images taken in hospitals around the country, with patients sleeping on the floor, and in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery and multiple graveyards in Mashhad demonstrate that conditions on the ground are substantially worse than what the sanctioned media portrays.
Erfan Mardani, director of public relations at Jundishapur University, wrote in his personal Twitter feed that hospitals in Khuzestan Province have nowhere near enough beds and that medical staffers are dropping “like autumn leaves.” Hossein Farshidi, president of medical sciences at Hormozgan University, said that two weeks of absolute lockdown are necessary to break the chain of infections and bring the situation under control. Members of the national anti-coronavirus task force have unanimously opposed suggestions of a two-week lockdown.