EghtesadOnline: Confirmed cases of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran exceeded 800,000 on Wednesday, as the government prepared to impose a large-scale lockdown to stem the spread of the contagion.
“A record 13,420 newly-registered cases took the national total to 801,894,” Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted as saying by IRNA.
It took about 75 days for the first 100,000 cases to be reported in Iran, but it has taken only eight days for cases to climb to 800,000 from 700,000.
“A further 480 fatalities have taken the nation’s toll to 42,941,” Lari said, as the country has recorded over 400 deaths for the 18th day.
President Hassan Rouhani in his weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday pointed to the nearly 500 deaths per day as a “strong warning to all of us” and asked for public cooperation in the enforcement of full lockdown in cities hit hardest by the pandemic.
Starting Saturday, the National Coronavirus Taskforce will place red cities under full lockdown and orange cities under partial lockdown to contain a third wave of infections overwhelming the healthcare system.
The president warned against family gatherings over the two-week lockdown and said, “Statistics show that 51% of transmissions occur in family gatherings.”
According to the top official, families’ 51% share in transmitting the deadly virus could jump to 60% during the lockdown, if the public refuses to comply with the night curfew.
To prevent parties and gatherings, the government has also placed a night-time curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. in red cities for an extendable duration of two weeks.
Ahead of the two-week full lockdown of cities on Level 3 alert and partial shutdown of cities on Level 2 alert, Rouhani said the government has prepared a coronavirus aid package to cushion the blow to underprivileged Iranians.
“Individuals who meet the criteria for the aid will each receive one million rials ($3.9) per month for the next four months,” he said.
One-third of Iranians, approximately 26 million, are eligible to receive the financial aid until the end of the year in March.
In addition to the monthly aid, 10 million families can apply for loans of up to 10 million rials ($39).
The president did not elaborate on the installment plan.
“A record number of 5,700 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in intensive care units and 576,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness,” Lari said.
“Equipped laboratories throughout Iran have so far carried out 5.6 million diagnostic tests to identify infections.”
Worldwide coronavirus infections surpassed 56 million on Wednesday, as fatalities reached 1.34 million.