EghtesadOnline: The National Coronavirus Taskforce on Saturday issued a night curfew on nonessential businesses in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus, as Iran reported its largest single-day spike in daily Covid-19 cases.
All provincial capitals, including Tehran, and densely-populated cities will be subject to a curfew from 6 p.m. until the next day starting Nov. 10, President.ir reported.
The month-long restrictive measure was announced by President Hassan Rouhani during Saturday’s National Coronavirus Taskforce meeting, as Iran logged a record high of 9,450 new infections within 24 hours.
Alireza Raeisi, the taskforce’s spokesman, said, “Only essential businesses can continue activities after 6 p.m. The rest will close until the next day.”
Essential places of business, according to Raeisi, include health centers, pharmacies, search and rescue centers, fire stations, grocery stores and chain stores.
“I am certain that this initiative, with the help of people, can be extremely effective in breaking the chain of transmission,” he said.
The government is currently enforcing lockdown disciplines in 25 provincial capitals and 89 high-risk counties in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
All previous restrictions will expire by Friday, if not renewed.
“Iran’s record high coronavirus cases took the national count to 673,000,” the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
“Almost one-third of the 9,450 new cases required hospitalization. Over the past 24 hours, 423 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, bringing the death toll to 37,832.”
Pointing to widespread testing as a practical way of tackling the third wave of infections, Raeisi told a news conference on Saturday that Iran’s testing capacity will double in the near future.
“We are manufacturing local Covid-19 rapid test kits and importing large numbers of them,” he said.
“These tests can produce results in 20 to 25 minutes. This can be an important step. We are estimating to conduct over 70,000 to 80,000 daily tests.”
Iran has in recent weeks boosted its testing capacity from 20,000 to 40,000, which has in turn raised the number of identified cases to unprecedented highs.
The country mandated mask wearing over the summer and put focus on adherence to health protocols to contain the viral infection but recent surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths have promoted authorities to return restrictions in populous regions and for the first time order a curfew on nonessential businesses.
It is still not clear whether violators of the curfew will face fines.
“The number of patients in critical condition broke previous records with 5,506 severely ill cases,” Lari said, adding that 515,000 have recovered from the infectious disease.
Iran has performed 5.18 million diagnostic tests in the past nine months.
The number of global coronavirus cases stood at 49.7 million on Saturday and the death toll rose to 1.25 million.