EghtesadOnline: Iran plans to scale back restrictive measures adopted to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus in business outlets under its new initiative dubbed Smart Distancing.
As per the plan, low-risk businesses are scheduled to resume activities starting April 11 in all provinces, except Tehran that can follow suit on April 18, President.ir reported.
High-risk workplaces, including swimming pools, sports centers or any place of gathering, will remain closed until further notice, according to Financial Tribune.
“Economic activities and health protocols can be pursued alongside,” President Hassan Rouhani said during the coronavirus taskforce’s session on Sunday.
“Businesses are to abide by health protocols set by the Health Ministry—the main entity in charge of supervising the implementation of the protocols.”
The government is planning to launch a public awareness campaign to inform business owners, employees and the general public of the Health Ministry’s protocols.
Rouhani said, “The opening of businesses does not mean we are ignoring the stay-home principle. Those whose outdoor presence is unnecessary should preferably continue to stay at home.”
The Health Ministry announced its daily report on the progression of COVID-19, registering 2,483 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 58,226.
On Sunday, the death toll rose to 3,603, up by 151 from the previous day. Over 22,000 have recovered while 4,057 are in critical condition.
According to the ministry, Iran has carried out nearly 190,000 coronavirus tests.
Workplaces Notified of COVID-19 Patients
The president expounded on precautionary measures that have been put in place in the Smart Distancing Initiative to ensure public safety, stressing that personnel are required by law to notify employers if they have tested positive for the infection.
“Laboratories are obligated to inform the family and the employer of the person diagnosed with the infectious disease of their condition,” Rouhani added.
Starting next Saturday, office working hours will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The scheme allows one-third of employees in each workplace to undertake teleworking.
“The elderly and those with underlying health conditions take priority,” Rouhani said.
The respiratory illness’s mortality rate increases sharply among the elderly and for those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
Under the plan, car trips are allowed within a province but the ban on travel to other provinces will remain in place until April 18.
Schools are also closed until April 18 but universities will partially reopen for PhD students.
The closure of religious sites will continue until April 18. Further decisions about holy places will be announced at a later date.
Iran’s Parliament, which ceased activity in the early days of the outbreak, will officially convene on Tuesday with the presence of lawmakers.
The next meeting of the coronavirus taskforce is scheduled for April 12.