EghtesadOnline: The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran soared past one million on Thursday, less than 10 months into the pandemic, as the Health Ministry reported a decline in hospitalizations and deaths.
Iran registered a total of 1.016 million infections by Friday noon, up by 13,300 compared to a day earlier, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
It took eight days for the case tally to climb from 900,000 to one million.
Despite hitting the grim milestone, Covid-19 patients and deaths have declined in the past few days, with daily cases falling below 14,000 and overnight deaths going back to under 400 after nearly one month of closing dangerously to 500.
The drop has been linked to stringent measures imposed over the past few weeks throughout the country, which has decreased the number of cities on alert Level Three, or red, to only 64, from a previous 160.
Tehran is among the 96 cities that have moved from Level Three to Level Two, or orange, which eases the restrictions enforced in the capital.
According to protocols set by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, most non-essential businesses can resume operations in cities labeled orange.
“Malls can reopen starting Saturday,” Tehran’s Governor General Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpey said, “They need to observe safety guidelines so we don’t return to a red state.”
He also informed that the presence of half of government employees is required in offices. Over the past two weeks, two-thirds of the employees telecommuted to reduce movements in the city and thin out the number of people using public transportation.
Night Curfew Extends to Orange Cities
Bandpey pointed out that nighttime curfew placed on red cities will “most probably” be extended to orange regions.
Private cars have been banned to roam cities on red alert from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., and violators are handed out fines of 2 million rials ($7.8).
“The matter will be discussed during the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s Saturday meeting,” he added.
A statement released by the taskforce on Friday, however, announced that the curfew will remain in place for orange cities and counties with a population of over 200,000.
The Health Ministry reported 347 deaths on Friday, taking the toll to over 49,690.
Over 708,000 have recovered from the infectious disease and 5,824 are hospitalized in intensive care units, Lari said.
Iran has performed more than 6.29 million diagnostic tests since the start of the deadly outbreak. It has recently increased its daily testing capacity from 20,000 to 40,000 per day.
Global Covid-19 cases rose to 65.6 million on Friday and death toll reached 1.51 million.