Iran’s Coronavirus Strategy Favored Economy Over Public Health, Leaving Both Exposed
When faced with the difficult choice of choosing to close the country down to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 or to keep the economy running and risk disastrous infection rates, Iran chose the economy, which proved to be incredibly detrimental to the country’s overall wellbeing. Within three weeks of announcing its first case, the country now has over 14,000, including 724 deaths as of Sunday.
Iran has the third most cases of any country, just behind China and Italy after travelers spread the illnesses across towns and cities and into neighboring Middle Eastern countries. For the first time in six decades, Iran asked for IMF assistance of $5 billion to help combat the virus as it struggles to maintain its economy under US sanctions combined with the pandemic. Other countries have been more preemptive, with its neighbor Israel ordering all international arrivals to quarantine themselves for two weeks. Experts argue this move may help protect the economy in the long run despite the short term effects.