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EghtesadOnline: Four months after the coronavirus disease was first detected in Iran, the country’s tally of Covid-19 cases crossed the 200,000 mark on Friday.

With 2,615 freshly confirmed cases of the viral infection, Iran’s national total reached 200,262, according to the Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari, ISNA reported.

For the second time this week, the count of overnight deaths rose to 120, a 38% jump compared to a day earlier. The new deaths brought the death toll to 9,392.

At least six provinces are seeing rising Covid-19 numbers, according to Lari, who added that “white” zones could turn “red” if safety guidelines are ignored.

President Hassan Rouhani’s administration classified the country into three zones based on the extent of virus transmissions in a given county, with “white” and “red” at the two ends of the spectrum.

The zoning classifications help the government replace nationwide or province-wide quarantine measures with targeted lockdown to curb the economic fallout of the pandemic. Based on a government count, there are more than 100 “white” counties across Iran.

At a coronavirus taskforce meeting chaired by Rouhani on Thursday, the president asked governor generals to only impose targeted restrictions to tackle the spread of the virus.

“Everyone should know which cities are ‘red’ as well as the length of time, geographical location and the type of restrictions imposed,” he added.

The president pointed out that one of Iran’s remarkable achievements in the early stages of the outbreak was the containment of infection by encouraging adherence to safety guidelines without the use of force.

The government refrained from imposing a curfew during the peak of the disease in late March and early April, a common practice among the worst-hit countries.

Iran ranks 10th in terms of infected patients, right behind Italy and Chile with 238,000 and 225,000 confirmed cases, respectively.



Reflection of Public Conduct

In response to the soaring numbers of cases and deaths, Lari said, “The deaths and hospitalizations are a reflection of public conduct in following social distancing rules and personal hygiene in the past two to four weeks.”

An official with the Health Ministry, Qasem Janbabaei, also pointed out that there is a “downtrend in observing health protocols throughout the country”.

During Thursday’s coronavirus taskforce session, Rouhani warned of the possibility of an “unpredictable” and “unpleasant” situation, if health protocols are neglected.

Rouhani also said the unknown nature of the SARS-CoV-2 could also contribute to that scenario. 

“Any kind of shortcoming and negligence in the fight against the coronavirus could cause greater loss,” he said.

Iran has carried out over 1.37 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, the primary method to identify infected patients.

Nearly 159,000 have so far recovered from the respiratory illness that has claimed the lives of 457,000 worldwide. Currently, 2,800 patients have displayed severe symptoms and are hospitalized in intensive care units.

Worldwide, more than 8.6 million have tested positive for Covid-19.



Iran coronavirus COVID-19