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EghtesadOnline: With the date for the lockdown of 150 cities across Iran fast approaching, Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Tuesday warned that the next two weeks are pivotal in “the history of the nation’s fight against the Covid-19 outbreak”.

“If you give up, we will lose the game. The number of deaths will hit the four-figure mark and there will be no going back,” Namaki was quoted as saying by ISNA.

“Iran reported its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases on Tuesday with 13,350 infections, taking the national tally to 788,470,” the spokeswoman of Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.

Starting next Saturday, the government will impose strict measures in cities hit hardest by the pandemic to curb transmissions and win a period of respite for the healthcare system.

“Any negligence, coming from the public or authorities, will be the last straw in the containment of the contagion. We need to stand firmly and have no mercy on coronavirus violators,” Namaki said. 

Previous initiatives such as mandatory facemask wearing and travel restrictions have been poorly enforced since the start of the epidemic.



New Measures Outlined

Namaki detailed his scheme to tackle the viral infection, which include night curfews, full lockdowns, travel restrictions and increased testing. 

“Any patient confirmed to have caught the coronavirus will be handed out a fine of 2 million rials ($7.6) if they break quarantine,” the minister said.

As per the plan, travel to and from 150 red cities will be banned for two weeks and a night curfew on movements will keep streets empty from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The health official noted that the increase in daily testing from 25,000 to 40,000 and later to 100,000 will significantly raise the prospects of breaking the chain of transmission.

“Overnight fatalities dropped by four, compared to a day earlier, to 482, pushing the number of deaths to 42,460,” Lari said. 

Iran has performed 5.58 million PCR tests since the deadly virus was spotted in the country.

The number of global Covid-19 cases jumped to 55.46 million and the death toll reached 1.33 million.


Health Minister Saeed Namaki COVID