EghtesadOnline: Although the coronavirus infection rate has slowed, the National Coronavirus Headquarters announced on Saturday that it will extend the nightly curfew to most cities across the country to keep the contagious outbreak at bay.
“The traffic curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. has been extremely effective,” the taskforce’s spokesman, Alireza Raeisi, was quoted as saying by ISNA. “Today, we have extended the nightly ban on movement to yellow cities.”
To impose localized lockdown measures, Iran assigned colors to its cities, with red representing the highest alert level, followed by orange and yellow. The nighttime curfew was only enforced in red and orange regions until now.
Latest data gathered by the Health Ministry show there are currently 108 orange cities and 340 yellow cities in Iran.
According to Raeisi, schools will continue distance learning, adding that schools will be reopened after mass inoculation and the spread of the disease is stemmed next year.
“The proposal to hold face-to-face classes for first and second grade students of schools did not get enough votes,” he said.
The health official noted that restrictions imposed in the past two months have significantly reduced the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
“Right now, daily hospitalizations have dropped by 40% and the death toll has sunk by half compared to last month,” Raeisi said.
The government enforced stringent measures over the past month to curb transmissions, including a travel ban to and from regions worst hit by the epidemic, a nighttime curfew and closure of non-essential businesses.
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday pointed to the surge in infections in European nations, especially the United Kingdom, and said Iran will screen incoming travelers to prevent the entry of the new coronavirus variants.
“Assuming that the mutated virus has arrived in the country, the solution is the same as it has always been: observe social distancing rules and health protocols,” he said.
The new variant of the coronavirus strain was first detected in southeast England in September and research suggests that it can be 70% more transmittable than the other strains circulating in the world.
“Some 5,760 new coronavirus patients were identified on Saturday and 732 required hospitalization,” the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.
“The total number of Covid-19 patients reached 1.194 million. The contagion claimed the lives of 134 Covid-19 patients on Saturday, taking the national death toll to 54,570.”
Lari said over 942,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness and 5,270 are in critical condition.
“Iran has administered more than 7.35 million diagnostic tests since the start of the pandemic,” she added.
The number of global Covid-19 cases surged past 80.3 million and fatalities caused by the infectious disease rose to 1.76 million.