TEHRAN (Dispatches) – The Iranian Army has begun drills to prevent and monitor the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.
The exercises will be conducted under the command of its biodefense base and the supervision of Deputy Chief of Army for Coordination Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Army announced on Sunday.
The Iranian Army’s ground forces will play the main role in the war games led by Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari.
The drills came after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued an edict to Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri, emphasizing the need for the establishment of a "health and treatment base” to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Leader also warned that the outbreak might be the result of a "biological attack” against the Islamic Republic.
The Leader said "there is some evidence that this incident might be a ‘biological attack’, [and] this measure could be also some form of biological defense drill, which would add to national power and strength [of the country].”
Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps for Coordination Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said the IRGC forces have stepped up measure to combat the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.
Addressing a ceremony on Sunday to introduce the new commander of the IRGC Neynava Unit in the northeastern province of Golestan, which was held via video conference due to the coronavirus outbreak, Rear Admiral Fadavi said it is the first time that such a ceremony is held via video conference, adding that after containing the virus, he will meet with the new commander in person.
On Saturday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) opened three field hospitals in northern and southern Iranian provinces in line with efforts to fight the spreading outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
"Given the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country and people’s need to have access to health and medical centers, two hospitals that contain 30-40 beds have started their work in the city of Borazjan [in the southern Bushehr Province] and a 54-bed mobile hospital in [the southern port city of] Bandar Abbas,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said on Saturday.
He added that another 74-bed mobile hospital has opened in the northern city of Rasht and noted that the hospital’s capacity can be increased to 120 beds in order to provide more services to confirmed coronavirus patients.
In the city of Qom, south of Tehran, clerics and clerical students of religious seminaries have declared their readiness to attend various hospitals and other health centers to provide free services to patients under supervision of specialist doctors, and have spared to effort and sacrifice in this regard.
According to Dr. Hamed Shafiei, who heads Qom’s Forqani hospital where the first cases of coronavirus were detected in Iran, a total of 150 clerics are providing voluntary round-the-clock services to patients hospitalized there.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran in late February, Iranian people from all walks of life have been engaged in a serious fight to do their part in curbing further spread of the virus across the country.
Among popular activities undertaken by ordinary people
appear to fail to stem more attacks on the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi government protested the American air strikes and said members of its security forces were among the dead.”
This is while the Pentagon further declared that two of the three wounded U.S. troops were seriously injured in the rocket attack and are being treated at a military hospital in Baghdad.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, however, refused to speculate on potential U.S. responses but, in a statement, cited Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s warning last week that "you cannot attack and wound American Service Members and get away with it, we will hold them to account.”
Meanwhile, the Iraqi military also stated on Saturday that neither the United States nor other foreign forces should use the latest rocket attack as a pretext to take military action without Iraq’s approval, and should instead hasten to implement a parliamentary resolution expelling them.