With over 20,000 confirmed cases and nearly 1,600 deaths, Iran is one of the worst COVID-19 affected nations in the world. The colossal rate of new infections and casualties has forced the government to resort to drastic measures including the temporary release of thousands of prisoners.
However, a video doing the rounds on social media shows an Iranian cleric being oblivious to the safety protocols and measures put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In a video posted by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian Journalist, on her Twitter account, the cleric can be seen walking into a ward with COVID-19 patients — without any protective gear — and making them smell a liquid that he says is from the Prophet himself, to help them recover.
The cleric, without any mandatory protection including a mask, is seen approaching an elderly patient. He proceeds to hold a small bottle of liquid to the man’s nose and asks him to smell it. He is heard saying: “Smell it. It’s from the Prophet.”
Bigotry by another cleric in Iran
This cleric goes to a hospital where #CoronaVirus patients are treated. He makes them smell a liquid saying “this is from the prophet. It’ll cure you”.
After exposing himself to the virus, he walks out of the hospital. How many will he infect? pic.twitter.com/rBivDSg9yW
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) March 21, 2020
If that was not enough, he moves on to another older patient. After inquiring about his condition and progress, he repeats the same exercise. Before leaving he is seen telling the patient: “Are you feeling better? I hope you get better.”
While the religious leader appears to be in good health, he not only exposed himself to the risk of contracting the fatal infection but also others who may come in contact with him. A portion of the aptly captioned tweet read: “After exposing himself to the virus, he walks out of the hospital. How many will he infect?”
Other Twitter users condemned the act seen as reckless at a time when the nation faces mounting challenges such as lack of beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients. A user wrote: “How on earth is he allowed to access the patients inside the ward?”