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Satnews Daily
March 24th, 2020

A Maxar Spotlight: How Misinformation and Negligence in Iran is Propagating the Spread of Coronavirus

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic surges, many governments are working to contain infected populations and limit outbreaks.

However, deliberate suppression of information in Iran has contributed to widespread contagion within and outside the country. At least 16 countries have confirmed cases of the coronavirus that are linked to people who have traveled to Iran.

Given Iran’s porous borders, large transient populations and smuggling networks, the outflow of infected persons is likely far greater than presently known.

Maxar Spotlight highlights the severity and scale of the coronavirus in Iran as well as the government’s inability to handle such an outbreak. For this assessment, satellite imagery was captured and analyzed over two cities in Iran reeling from the coronavirus. Combined with the company's nation-wide Human Landscape dataset of Iran and verified crowdsourcing platform, GeoHIVE, Maxar created a timeline of events that illustrate where and how the virus is spreading.

The firm's analysts leverage Maxar satellite imagery to provide organizations with early insights into economic, military, environmental and political changes around the world. Read the periodical in full to gain a better understanding of how Maxar’s Earth Intelligence capabilities can help reveal patterns of life and insights critical in times of crisis and conflict.

[Sneak Peek into Issue #20 of Maxar Spotlight]

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, Iran accounts for the highest reported number of deaths outside China. According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus mortality rate is roughly 2% globally. However, mortality rate in Iran is more than 5%.

The coronavirus has also uncharacteristically infected a high number of government officials, with estimates suggesting upwards of 8% of the country’s parliament has been infected. Based on these statistics and additional on-the ground reporting, many experts believe the total number of cases and subsequent deaths from the virus in Iran is far greater than that being distributed by the Iranian government.

At least 16 countries have confirmed cases of the coronavirus that are linked to people who have traveled to Iran. Many of the travelers had visited Qom, home to the Fatima Masumeh Holy Shrine and Iran’s coronavirus outbreak. Some of the cases have also been linked to Mashhad, which is the site of the Imam Reza Holy Shrine. Each of these holy sites draws tens of millions of travelers from around the world every year.