Poor governance, disinformation, censorship, and punishing U.S. sanctions have turned a crisis into a disaster.
- 0 Public Health
- 33.7 Financial
- 0 Fact-Based
Iran has an extremly low 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 Iranian 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 Sep 1.)
Public Health Directives
Iran has not mobilized any additional funds for emergency healthcare responses, which, coupled with its limited testing, and limited travel restrictions, explains its very low public health policy score.
- Stay at home order 1
- Public gathering restrictions 1
- School closings 3
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 2
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 38.5
- Contact tracing 2
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 13%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 2
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 Sep 1
Iran’s in-country COVID-19 status is relatively strong, with a high case rate countered by a lower death rate and a fairly low positivity rate. However, its limited use of facts and its press limitations might put some of these numbers in question.
- Total deaths 21,571
- Death rate per 100K 256.8
- Total cases 375,212
- Cases per 100K 4,467
- Percent of positive tests 8.7
- Change in positivity rates -1.2
|1||Apr 20||Malls and bazaars reopen||17.90|
|2||Apr 22||Parks and recreation areas reopen||16.88|
|3||May 12||Mosques reopen||18.10|
|4||May 16||Schools reopen||20.32|
|5||May 26||All businesses and major religious sites reopen||25.91|
|6||Aug 01||State of emergency extended until at least January 2021||30.07|
- Poor governance and U.S. sanctions aid second wave of COVID-19: Iran is being hit hard by COVID-19 again, driven by disinformation 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 economic-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
- Restrictions enacted but not enforced: Flights between Iran and China continued to operate until late February, despite the authorities ordering flights to be suspended on January 31st. Lack of enforcement of this decision has been linked to the government's desire to retain diplomatic ties with China, one of its few friends. Read More
- Millions lose income due to COVID-19: An estimated 7.3 million people are thought to be living in financial precarity due to the coronavirus. Despite this, Iran struggled to support its population due to the impacts of U.S. sanctions, which may have directly impacted the decision to re-open the country in April. Read More
- Restrictions come too late: Iran's early enforcement of prevention measures was weak and delayed, but—facing a rise in cases in July—the government made face masks mandatory in public spaces, threatening that non-compliance would result in people losing access to state support services. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
Per 1M 65,228
India has a relatively strong score in the Index due to its relatively strong financial response and initially strict lockdown, although case numbers continue to rise rapidly.
Per 1M 17,176
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 6,370
Turkey has relatively weak policy. In addition to limited restrictions on movement, officials have provided little emergency spending, stimulus, or debt relief. They also have limited press freedom and have 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