Iranian health staff get $200m in extra wages amid pandemic

The Iranian government has paid nearly $200 million in extra wages to health workers amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as a third wave of the disease is pushing hospitals in the country to the brink.

28 October 2020
ID : 22628
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The Iranian government has paid nearly $200 million in extra wages to health workers amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as a third wave of the disease is pushing hospitals in the country to the brink.

An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020. Photo: AFP

The Iranian government has paid nearly $200 million in extra wages to health workers amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as a third wave of the disease is pushing hospitals in the country to the brink.

Head of Iran’s Plan and Budget Organization (PBO) Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Tuesday that payments to health staff that had been in arrears since the start of the pandemic in late February amounted to 55 trillion rials.

“Fortunately, this cleared all arrears on extra wages,” Nobakht said in a post in his social media page.

The payment had been due since March when the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khemeeni allowed tapping 1 billion euoros from Iran’s sovereign wealth fund to help the government pay for emergency programs meant to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

A bulk of the emergency funds was supposed to support the Iranian health ministry’s efforts to compensate health workers for the extra work they have been doing during the spread of the virus.

The infection has caused dozens of deaths among nurses and doctors across Iran as hospitals and care homes are currently grappling with a third and even deadlier wave of the disease.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Tuesday that the number of deaths from coroanvirus had surged by 346 over the past 24 hours to reach a total of 33,299.

Sadat Lari said the number of positive cases had also increased by 6,968 to 581,824 while reiterating that there have been 643,611 recoveries over the past nine months.

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