Iran’s Fight Against the Coronavirus


Iran’s Fight Against the Coronavirus

Iran is poised to become the new epicenter of the coronavirus. On February 19, the country reported its first outbreak of Covid-19, known globally as the coronavirus. The virus is spreading quickly across the country. Iran’s current death toll is the highest outside of China.

Fears of additional outbreaks are spreading across the region, with Iran’s immediate neighbors closing their borders as new cases in 11 countries are traced back to Iran. Many countries, including Oman, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, have cancelled flights to Iran. These precautions, which all serve to slow the spread of the virus, have also impeded the country’s ability to import critical medical supplies.

Health Workers at Greatest Risk for Exposure

Relief International’s Iran teams on the ground are working as quickly as possible to purchase and distribute protection items for medical staff as well as patient diagnostic kits. There is an extreme shortage of these supplies in-country, where stock is often low due to the steep price of medicines and medical equipment – a consequence of U.S. sanctions. Gaining access to outside goods is a persistent challenge because of the sanctions, but it is especially difficult right now because of the closure of shared borders with Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey.

Relief International is one of the only international organizations authorized to respond to the coronavirus outbreak unfolding in Iran. We need your help to keep emergency responders safe as they struggle to contain this virus.

“Doctors, nurses, and aid workers responding on the frontlines of this crisis are putting their lives at risk to contain this virus,” shares Olivier Vandecasteele, Relief International’s Country Director for Iran. “Their close interactions with patients who have tested positive put them at the greatest risk for contraction. They’re exposed because there is a lack of protective gear available in Iran. We must do all we can to protect our staff and fellow healthcare workers so that they can continue saving lives.”

Relief International’s long-standing operations in Iran give us the unique capability to fill gaps in supplies required to keep frontline emergency responders safe as they struggle to contain this virus. However, we cannot do this important work alone. Donate today to help us deliver critical safety supplies to health workers and patients in outbreak hotspots.

  • $10 can provide a box of 100 face masks to protect health workers
  • $15 can stock one health facility with hand sanitizer, protective goggles, and latex gloves
  • $50 can purchase 25 test kits to rapidly detect the virus in patients
  • $75 can provide treatment for two patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus
  • $150 can provide protective gear and safety supplies for ten health workers

With donor support to source and transport these essential supplies, Relief International’s teams on the ground will prioritize delivering them to the medical facilities where the needs are greatest. We are already working with our patients to provide accurate information about how to recognize symptoms and how to protect themselves against the virus.

Frequently Asked Questions about Supporting Our Work in Iran

> Why give to Relief International?

Relief International works in the world’s most fragile settings. When emergencies like the coronavirus arise, your gift ensures that our teams are able to respond in real-time to save lives.

> How long has Relief International worked in Iran?

Relief International has worked in Iran uninterrupted for three decades through projects supporting the local Afghan population and responding to natural disasters.

> Can I donate to this relief effort given US sanctions against Iran?

Yes. Relief International is one of only two international nonprofit organizations authorized by OFAC and the Iranian authorities to operate in Iran.

We have an OFAC license (License No. IA-2016-329134-4) for humanitarian purposes and we are able to accept tax-exempt donations from Americans and others to support our ongoing relief and development operations in Iran. To request a copy of Relief International’s OFAC license, please contact us at [email protected].