EghtesadOnline: Amid concerns over the recent surge in daily Covid-19 cases, President Hassan Rouhani attributed the climb to extensive testing and contact tracing.
Rouhani on Saturday alleviated concerns over the soaring coronavirus cases in Iran, pointing out that the introduction of a more aggressive testing program has led to the assumption that the virus is spreading faster than before, President.ir reported.
The president said, “The numbers should not be worrying since they are based on testing and it is beneficial to the future since it isolates patients and asymptomatic carriers.”
During Saturday’s coronavirus taskforce meeting, the president announced further unwinding of the country’s lockdown, allowing mosques to reopen for daily prayers nationwide.
The taskforce also decided to scrap the limit on the opening hours of malls, which were allowed to be open until 6 p.m. and in regions with hot climate until 8 p.m.
“Mosques must observe social distancing and health protocols … Malls can continue activities while heeding protocols,” he said.
Another government policy on the coronavirus response, which was issued last week, took effect on Saturday, mandating the return of all employees to work throughout the nation.
Rouhani noted that people need to believe they cannot return to the pre-coronavirus times any time soon and that parts of their lives should be conducted via cyberspace”.
Change in Statistics a “Disaster”
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi also made the same point on Saturday, citing polling results that show public belief in social distancing has declined from 90% to 40%.
“Fear of the virus has dropped from 70% to 34%. Believing in the stay-home policy has fallen from 86% to 32%,” he said.
The health official called the change in statistics a “disaster”.
Rouhani warned the public to respect health measures in their travels so that the country does not face another wave of the infectious disease, forcing authorities to reimpose travel restrictions in certain cities.
Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Saturday that seven out of Iran’s 31 provinces are seeing alarming numbers of infection.
Lorestan, Kermanshah, Hormozgan and Isfahan are among the provinces named. Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran is still in a state of emergency.
According to the health official, Iran registered 2,282 new confirmed cases on Saturday, nearly 430 of which required hospitalization and the remaining 1,847 have been instructed to self-isolate at home.
The new cases took the national tally to 148,650. Some 57 overnight fatalities brought the death toll to 7,734.
Jahanpour said, “So far, 116,827 have recovered from the illness or left hospitals.”
More than 2,500 remain in critical condition in intensive care units.
According to the health official, the country has conducted 916,000 diagnostic tests to track down those who have contracted the deadly virus.
Worldwide infections crossed six million on Saturday, with fatalities reaching 368,000.