EghtesadOnline: Iran’s tally of Covid-19 cases rose above 120,000 on Sunday, as the country continued to ease containment measures to revive its economy.
Laboratories equipped to test suspected patients registered 1,806 new cases on Sunday, bringing the national total to 120,198, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Iran is among nine countries with six-digit coronavirus numbers.
Overnight fatalities from the widespread pandemic rose above the 50 mark on Sunday, taking the lives of 51 which took the death toll to 6,988. The daily deaths on Saturday had fallen to its lowest in 70 days but the decline was short-lived.
More than 2,700 are in critical condition. Iran has carried out 687,000 diagnostic tests across the country, nearly one-fifth of which was positive.
According to Jahanpour, Iran can conduct 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day and it can increase its capacity to 45,000 per day.
At least 94,500 Iranians have recovered from the viral infection.
During his daily Covid-19 briefing, Jahanpour said the southwestern province of Khuzestan is still on red alert, but the renewed containment measures are expected to show their effect in the coming days.
The health official extended his warnings to the provinces of Lorestan, Kermanshah and Sistan-Baluchestan, and asked the public to respect social distancing measures.
Tehran is still the epicenter of the infectious disease.
“Other provinces are relatively stable,” Jahanpour added.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said on Sunday that the people need to adjust their routines to the novel coronavirus for at least 18 to 24 months.
Harirchi noted, “We need to maximize any activity related to the economy and minimize any activity unrelated to the economy that increases the chances of virus transmission.”
The official asked the public to refrain from traveling in the coming holidays and avoid gatherings in hotels and inns, and on the road.
The two-day Eid-al-Fitr next week marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan has tempted many Iranians to take a trip after three months of partial self-isolation.
Harirchi also discussed the government’s initiative to categorize the country into low-, medium- and high-risk counties dubbed “white,” “yellow” and “red”, respectively.
He said, “The number of ‘white’ counties are on the rise, reaching 218 from an earlier 132. The numbers of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ regions are declining.”
The official revealed that the administration is taking steps to introduce another zone to the previous three: “green” zones. Harirchi did not clarify how many days of no-coronavirus report would grant a region the “green” label.