Copy of 2020-08-03T110423Z_1088813424_RC2B6I9CS5TG_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-IRAN-1596469472367
Women wearing protective face masks shop at a bazaar following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Tehran, Iran. Image Credit: VIA REUTERS

Dubai: BBC Persian service, which is very popular among Iranians, has reported that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran’s government claims.

Tehran said about 42,000 people died of COVID-19 up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.

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The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827, BBC reported.

The official numbers still make Iran the worst-hit in the Middle East.

In recent weeks, it has suffered a second steep rise in the number of cases.

The first death in Iran from COVID-19 was recorded on January 22, according to lists and medical records given to the BBC. This was almost a month before the first official case of coronavirus was reported there.