Satellite images from Iran shows how mass graves have been hurriedly dug to accommodate the spiralling number of coronavirus victims, experts believe.
Aerial photos appear to show a cemetery in the holy city of Qom being expanded after the outbreak began there in mid-February.
Experts who spoke to the Washington Post say there are signs that the new 300ft trenches were dug for the many virus victims who have died in the city.
In addition, videos which have circulated on social media appear to show people confirming that the graves are being used for coronavirus patients.
Iran has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks and there has been widespread suspicion that the regime is covering up the true scale of the crisis. Official figures say that 429 people have died.
The satellite images of the Behesht-e Masoumeh cemetery, published by Maxar Technologies, show much of the graveyard lying unused as recently as October.
By the start of March this year, one previously half-filled quadrant had been completely filled up while work had begun on another unused section.
In that second quadrant, two new 300ft trenches had appeared which are visible from the aerial pictures.
A Maxar analyst told the Post that the hurried excavation work was a ‘departure’ from previous burials at the site.
The analyst also suggested that a white substance which was piled up next to the graves could be a supply of lime which is sometimes used in mass graves.
Lime can slow down the decay of a body, experts say – with some health authorities raising alarms over the handling of corpses in coronavirus cases.
According to the Post, Iranian officials have acknowledged using lime when burying people who died after being infected with the virus.
There is also video footage which appears to back up the satellite evidence that the graveyard has been hurriedly expanded.
In one video, a narrator refers to the ‘coronavirus patients’ section’ of the cemetery which he identifies as the Behest-e Masoumeh graveyard.
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Source: Daily Mail