Iran expels Doctors Without Borders team, rejects aid

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Cabinet members wearing face masks and gloves attend their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, in the picture taken on March 18. -- Courtesy photo

By Yaghoub Fazeli

DUBAI -- Iran expelled a team of doctors from international humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) who came to the country to treat coronavirus patients and rejected their plan to set up a field hospital in one of the country’s worst-hit provinces.

France-based MSF said on Monday it sent a 50-bed inflatable hospital and an emergency team of nine people to the central province of Isfahan to increase hospital capacity for treating patients critically ill from coronavirus.

“Thanks to MSF, but ... we currently do not have a need for hospital beds set up by foreign forces,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, an advisor to Iran’s health minister, tweeted on Monday.

MSF had planned to set up the treatment unit in the compound of Isfahan’s Amin hospital.

Iran’s rejection of MSF’s help may be linked to a recent speech by the country’s highest authority Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who said the republic will reject any help from the US to combat coronavirus.

“[The US] might bring a drug into the country that will make this virus stay for a long time,” Khamenei said on Sunday.

As of Monday, 1,812 in Iran have died from coronavirus, and there are 23,049 confirmed cases. -- Al Arabiya English


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