Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday that Iran welcomes any help from MSF or any governmental or non-governmental organizations except those from the US and the Israeli regime, noting that the MSF team was planning to set up a 48-bed inflatable hospital at one of Iran’s medical centers.
“They did not have notified the Iranian Health Ministry beforehand, and apparently, the talks on the issue had taken place somewhere else and it was presented to us as a fait accompli,” he explained.
Jahanpour said there are currently enough hospital beds for patients infected with COVID-19 across the country.
“We are grateful for their help and their intention to aid our people, but we have over 10,000 hospital beds and 10,000 more post-hospital care beds, most of which are more than what we need right now; as such, a 48-bed hospital will not do much for us at the moment,” he added.
“We apologize for this, and we appreciate their act of compassion. Our people had plans to accompany the MSF team to visit our medical centers. We still welcome any humanitarian aid sent to us from any governmental organizations or NGOs,” Jahanpour said.
On Sunday, the MSF sent a 48-bed inflatable hospital and an emergency team to Iran’s central city of Isfahan to help treat the patients critically ill with the coronavirus disease.
The inflatable hospital was shipped by air from the MSF’s logistics hub in Bordeaux, France, and was to be set up in the compound of Amin hospital in Isfahan. An MSF team comprised of nine emergency and intensive care unit (ICU) doctors and logisticians were to run the unit.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 180 countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 19,000 people and infected over 423,000 others globally.
Iran reported on Tuesday that a total number of 1,934 coronavirus patients have died and 24,811 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 8,931 people have also recovered.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended until early April.
The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.
Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.
He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.
Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.
He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.
Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.
The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.
The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.