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Coronavirus: Social media shows outpouring of support for Iranian doctors

Online people are highlighting the efforts of public health workers risking their lives to help treat coronavirus patients
An Iranian doctor continues to serve coronavirus patients while feeling unwell (Screengrab/Twitter)

As the coronavirus pandemic claims more lives in Iran, people are turning to social media to show their support for healthcare workers and doctors who are treating patients in the country. 

Iran's health ministry said on Thursday that a person dies every ten minutes from the new coronavirus in the country, as the death toll continues to rise. 

Medical workers worldwide have been under immense pressure dealing with patients, but in Iran many are risking their lives due to a lack of proper equipment and resources after US President Donald Trump reinstated sanctions on Tehran. 

Online, people have been sharing images of healthcare workers who have been on the frontline of the pandemic.

Kianush Jahanpur, the Iranian health ministry's spokesperson, said on Saturday that more than 1,500 people had died from Covid-19 in the country since the beginning of the outbreak. 

"Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran," Jahanpur tweeted earlier this week. 

Iran is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 20,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

The country's death toll this week surpassed 1,000 people, as government officials launched an urgent appeal for life-saving medicines and equipment. 

Sanctions imposed on Iran have exacerbated the situation, as supplies and medications have been hard to obtain. Public health workers have been called "martyrs" by social media users. 

Translation: Photos of the martyred Iranian heroes who faced the coronavirus with courage and sacrifice. They were the first line of defence for their country and their people.. they tried to protect their patients from the virus, and for this reason these heroes have gained glory and immortality.

Some have also drawn attention to the lack of medical resources.

Iran has requested a multi-billion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the first time in nearly 60 years to help fight Covid-19.

Since 2018, US trade sanctions have meant that Iran has been unable to purchase medicine from European companies due to European banks' fears that they might be sanctioned by the US Treasury department for engaging in trade with Tehran. 

Last year, Human Rights Watch said that “maximum pressure” US sanctions have led to the country being unable to effectively treat cancer patients and rare blood disorders. 

Iran is in dire need of funds, medical supplies and goods to help it contain the disease, and has said that US sanctions have led to a loss of $200bn in foreign-exchange income and investment since 2017.

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has sent letters to leaders of several countries asking the international community to "disregard inhuman US sanctions".