EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani said government offices and the public transport system are to reject customers and passengers not wearing face coverings starting Sunday, when a nationwide mandatory facemask policy comes into force to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Iran’s president in a coronavirus taskforce meeting on Saturday said that as of July 5, all government and public offices will turn away people who refuse to wear facemasks, his website reported.
The policy has been extended to means of travel such as buses and subways, where affordable facemasks have been made accessible in advance.
Rouhani has advised trade guilds to enforce the rule in businesses operating under them.
According to the new policy, wearing the protective mask becomes mandatory in enclosed public areas.
Following a resurgence of the deadly contagion in many parts of the country, Iran’s government is scrambling to counter the impact of large-scale reopenings as well as cultural and religious ceremonies.
Rouhani urged people to refrain from attending public gatherings such as funerals and weddings, wear masks and observe social distancing rules, while underscoring the observation of health protocols.
“Hiding the contraction of the disease violates the rights of the people. Anyone who falls ill to Covid-19 has a human and religions obligation to alert others,” he said.
The administration has raised the alarm over 18 of Iran’s 31 provinces, half of which are in a state of emergency.
Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Saturday that an additional 2,449 infections took the national caseload to nearly 238,000. The outbreak claimed the lives of 148 patients overnight, bringing the death toll to 11,408.
Travel Ban Possible
Rouhani urged the public to travel only for essential reasons, adding that, “If the situation becomes dire, some restrictions will return for a short period.”
The government banned intercity travel in late May to minimize transmissions.
Rouhani pointed out that the one-week quarantine measures in “red” cities, where there is a high coronavirus transmission rate, could be extended beyond one week, if necessary.
Several provinces are under lockdown. Plastic surgeries are once again forbidden until further notice and some hospitals across the country have reached full capacity.
According to a member of the national coronavirus committee, Masoud Mardani, 18 million Iranians, or 20% of the population, have contracted the disease during the four and a half months since the pandemic was identified in the once-epicenter of central Qom.
Iran has so far administered 1.76 million tests to detect infections. Over 3,130 are in critical condition and 199,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness.
More than 11.2 million have tested positive for the infectious disease and 530,000 have died worldwide.