Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, May 16, 2020—Weeks ago, senior Iranian regime officials issued orders for people to return to work despite warnings from even their own lower-level officials and experts. Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran is now witnessing a very alarming rise in new COVID-19 cases, patients being hospitalized and unfortunately more such deaths.
“The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Khuzestan Province have increased by 60 percent while the number of coronavirus patients who are not hospitalized have increased by around threefold,” said the governor of Khuzestan Province on Friday, according to the state-run Borna news agency.
In the city of Dezful in this province, Ali Bakhtiari, head of a local hospital said on Friday, “To this day 40 of our medical staff in Dezful Hospital have contracted the novel coronavirus… We have 1,100 medical staff members and 40 of them are now ill, including physicians, nurses and administrative personnel.”
“Following Ahvaz, Dezful has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Khuzestan Province,” he added, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
“Conditions in Khuzestan are very critical regarding the number of coronavirus cases,” said Ghasem Saedi, a member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) representing the city of Dashte Azadegan in Khuzestan Province, according to a reported wired on Thursday by the Fars news agency, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). “Unfortunately, the Health Ministry has only provided promises in their support for Khuzestan Province and we have yet to see any practical measures by the Ministry. We don’t have the textile to make new masks and the government is not providing us any textile either,” he added.
The Mehr news agency, affiliated to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, wrote on Friday, “Khuzestan rose from the bottom of the table to second place today in regard to the coronavirus epidemic. It seems they are taking a long step to reach the first place… water shortages in Khuzestan Province have added insult to injury…”
As a result of these new troubling conditions, local officials in Khuzestan were forced to close all administrative offices on Friday and such measures are reported to continue until at least Monday, May 18.
All offices, banks, and unnecessary stores in the cities of Ahvaz, Karoun, Bavey, Ramhormoz, Masjid Soleiman, Haftkal, Hamidiyeh, Dasht-e Azadegan, Mahshahr, Hendijan, Dezful, Shoush, Shoushtar, Gatvand, Abadan & Khorramshahr will be closed until Monday.
Roads leading to downtown areas in these cities will be blocked based on orders from the offices of local governors and municipalities. Commuting and stopping alongside parks and other green areas have been banned. All mosques and religious/ritual sites are closed. Even private companies have been ordered to close for the time being.
It is worth noting that in such dire conditions the people of Khuzestan need running water to maintain hygiene standards. All the while, reports indicate many homes near Ahvaz have been without drinking water and locals are forced to purchase their water.
As’ad Sharhani, a member of the Ahvaz Medical Sciences University’s Board of Science, expressed grave concerns about conditions in Khuzestan Province. “We in the COVID-19 Task Force were against reopenings and relaxing quarantine measures. Unfortunately, the central task force HQ in Tehran were very late in a return to quarantine measures and only agreed for the weekend,” Sharhani said on Thursday. “With stores reopening legally and people returning to the streets, we were expecting a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.”