EghtesadOnline: Five of Iran’s 31 provinces are in a state of emergency due to a resurgence of Covid-19 infections, a health official said.
Hormozgan, Kurdestan, Lorestan and East Azerbaijan have joined the southwestern Khuzestan in the list of “red” regions where the outbreak is pervasive, Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted as saying by ISNA on Friday.
The provinces, one in the south and the rest in the west, saw “alarming” coronavirus cases for weeks before the Health Ministry on Friday announced a state of emergency in the regions.
To prioritize reopenings, the administration of President Hassan Rouhani split the country into “white”, “yellow” and “red” zones based on the extent of coronavirus transmissions.
Khuzestan became the first “red” province in the country following the government’s initiative to phase out restrictions, sparking renewed lockdowns in the region.
Nationwide lockdowns, however, seem unlikely as Rouhani on Tuesday said Iran has entered its third stage in tackling the coronavirus pandemic by “adapting to the coronavirus while fully observing health guidelines”.
According to the top official, the first phase of the scheme involved strict quarantine measures that shuttered many businesses. The second stage was the introduction of the “smart distancing” initiative, according to which the economy reopened and the country was categorized into three zones with low, moderate and high numbers of Covid-19 infections.
Reiterating that there is no end in sight to the pandemic, the president said, “Iran was one of the first countries that devised protocols to ease the pressure on people’s lives and livelihood, and walk the gradual and logical path of returning to economic activities.”
According to Rouhani, adaptability entails a change in routines and lifestyle.
Different sectors will be instructed on how to implement “smart distancing” in their activities, “if necessary, legal action will be taken against violators”, he added.
The coronavirus taskforce will make decisions on the reopening of libraries, exhibitions, wedding halls and the when and how of travel abroad in its coming sessions.
Corona Cases Rise
Iran recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases in the past six days with 2,369 additional infections, nearly 700 of whom were hospitalized.
“Contagion-related deaths rose to 8,659, up by 75 a day earlier,” Lari said.
So far, over 144,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness and some 2,700 are in serious condition.
Iran has carried out nearly 1.2 million diagnostic tests to identify infected patients.
Lari said, “During the past 24 hours, 15 provinces reported no fatalities and seven registered only one”.
The pandemic’s worldwide death toll stands at more than 423,000 and the number of those who have contracted the virus reached 7.6 million.