Poor governance, disinformation, censorship, and punishing U.S. sanctions have turned a crisis into a disaster.
- 25.9 Public Health
- 33.8 Financial
- 0 Fact-Based
Iran has a very weak policy score, due largely to very weak public health policy, driven by a severe lack of testing and substantial misinformation and press limitations by the national authorities.
Iran was near the median in its pre-pandemic capacity, with minimal debt, and its relatively healthy population counterbalanced by a very low number of hospital beds and low GDP per capita.
- Debt/GDP ratio 32.2%
- GDP/capita $17,832
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.8
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 12
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 71.1
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 10.2
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Jan 1.)
Public Health Directives
Iran has not mobilized any additional funds for emergency healthcare responses, which, coupled with its limited testing, and delayed travel restrictions, explains its very weak public health policy score.
- Stay at home order 1
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 3
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 1
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 91.3
- Contact tracing 1
Iran’s fiscal stimulus is relatively small, but it has offered strong debt support for workers to the extent that it is able, given the struggling economy.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 8.7%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 1
Press suppression and misinformation have been rife, with authorities suppressing information about the virus’s spread, ignoring the benefits of social distancing and PPE, and claiming that the coronavirus is a weapon made by the U.S. to bring down Iran.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 5
- Press freedom 2
COVID-19 Status as of Jan 1
Iran’s in-country COVID-19 status is near the median, with a median death rate countered by a fairly low case rate and a low positivity rate. However, its limited use of facts and its press limitations might put some of these numbers in question.
- Total deaths 55,337
- Death rate per 100K 658.8
- Total cases 1,231,429
- Cases per 100K 14,661
- Percent of positive tests 11.5
- Change in positivity rates -1.6
|1||Apr 20||Malls and bazaars reopen||17.35|
|2||Apr 22||Parks and recreation areas reopen||16.34|
|3||May 12||Mosques reopen||18.36|
|4||May 16||Schools reopen||20.70|
|5||May 26||All businesses and major religious sites reopen||25.36|
|6||Aug 01||State of emergency extended until at least January 2021||30.47|
|7||Sep 12||Schools and seminaries reopen||25.98|
|8||Oct 03||Tehran and other provinces shut down schools, mosques, libraries and other public institutions for at least a week||42.58|
|9||Nov 28||New wave of restrictions, partial lockdowns, curfews, and mandatory facemasks||160.71|
- Iran launches human trials of vaccine: Iran started human trials for a nationally produced COVID-19 vaccine, critical for the country given its challenges in getting foreign vaccines due to sanctions. Read More
- Iran approved to transfer funds to buy vaccines: Iran won approval from the U.S. to transfer money from banks to a Swiss account to purchase coronavirus vaccines. Read More
- Iran doubling COVID-19 testing: In November, Iran doubled its daily testing for COVID-19 to help stem the rising caseload. Read More
- Cases rise, flu vaccines imported: As the COVID-19 situation has worsened, Iran has imported 20 million doses of flu vaccine for 25 percent of the population to fight against the virus. The healthcare commission also announced that it has not yet received promised funds from the country’s sovereign wealth fund, leading to shortages in equipment and treatment. Read More
- Poor governance and U.S. sanctions aid second wave of COVID-19: Iran is being hit hard by COVID-19 again, driven by misinformation from political leaders, poor governance, media censorship, and U.S. sanctions that have kept needed medical resources away from the country at the worst time. Read More
- Remdesivir starting to be used to treat cases: Iran has started distributing Remdesivir to hospitals and plans to start human trials of a vaccine within weeks. Read More
- Daily newspaper shut down following government criticism: Iran's Press Supervisory Board revoked the license of Jahane Sanat, an economics-based daily paper, for publishing an interview with a member of Iran’s National Coronavirus Task Force who claimed the government is underreporting the extent of damage COVID-19 has actually caused. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
Per 1M 148,994
India scores just above the median, a large drop-off in recent months, keyed by substantial weakening of restrictions and worsening financial support.
Per 1M 56,798
Russia has a relatively weak score, with strong public health policy undone by weak financial support, limitations on press freedom, and spread of misinformation about the pandemic.
Per 1M 21,093
Turkey has very weak policy, driven by little emergency spending, stimulus, or debt relief, and loosening restrictions. It also has limited press freedom and has conducted minimal testing.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million