EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said starting next Saturday, his government will impose stricter and localized quarantine measures in Iran to ward off the outbreak.
On Nov. 21, all non-essential businesses must close in 100 cities labeled red, or on Level 3 alert across Iran, as per the order of National Coronavirus Taskforce announced by its spokesman Alireza Raeisi, IRNA reported.
Following Saturday morning’s taskforce meeting chaired by Rouhani, Raeisi elaborated on the president’s “comprehensive” initiative whose details will be hammered out over the week.
“Except for essential businesses involving everyday necessities, security and health, all other places of business will shut down for two weeks,” Raeisi said, adding that the lockdown will also include Tehran.
The restrictions, which will be in effect for two weeks, also entail travel restrictions to and from Level 3 counties and the presence of only one-third of employees in offices.
“In orange counties, or alert Level 2, category two and three occupations will shutter. There are currently 150 orange counties around Iran,” he added.
According to the official, counties on Level 2 alert are also subject to travel restrictions and half of the employees will telecommute.
Counties placed on Level 1 alert, otherwise known as yellow, will only have to close down category four occupations that mostly include social events and two-thirds of employees are expected in the workplace, he added.
Over the next six days, the taskforce will raise awareness about the latest strategy in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 and coordinate efforts.
Educational Activities Move Online
Pointing out that the closures are not just limited to businesses, Raeisi said, “They also include schools, institutions, universities, and cultural and religious events.”
Many educational institutions have already opted for distance learning as the safest choice amid the pandemic.
Rouhani said the enforcement of stricter disciplines are aimed at conveying a “state of emergency” to the public and increasing vigilance.
More details about the scheme will be released by the end of the week.
Iran’s healthcare system has been overwhelmed, as patients continue to be admitted to general wards and intensive care units.
The Health Ministry says it takes two to three weeks for any new policy to influence the number of daily cases and fatalities.
“Over 11,200 tested positive for Covid-19 in 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 749,500”, Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.
“With the death of 452 confirmed coronavirus patients, the death toll rose to 41,034. There are still 27 red provinces in the country.”
According to the health official, the provinces of South Khorasan, West Azarbaijan, Semnan and Ilam have registered the highest death rates in Iran.
“More than 552,000 have recovered from the respiratory disease and 5,642 are in critical condition,” Lari said, noting that Iran has administered 5.46 million diagnostic tests to track infection.
Global coronavirus cases reached 53.8 million on Saturday, as the death toll soared to 1.31 million.