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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose by 134 to 3,294 in the past 24 hours, while the number of confirmed cases surged over 53,000, with 4,035 in critical condition, a health official said.

“The number of those infected by the deadly virus increased by 2,715, to 53,183,” Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Friday, as President Hassan Rouhani prepared the public for the possibility of a two-year-long battle with the disease, ISNA reported.

So far, 17,395 patients have recovered in Iran, according to Financial Tribune.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was the latest among a host of politicians to have contracted the infection. Larijani, 62, tested positive and is currently in self-quarantine.    

During the 13-day New Year holidays known as Norouz, the government adopted the “Social Distancing Initiative” for implementing strict measures to contain the fast-spreading outbreak. 

The initiative banned inter-city travel following the refusal of the public to cancel trips during the holidays that began on March 20. It also limited transport from airports, as well as bus and train stations. Non-native people are no longer allowed to enter cities. 

The government also imposed a penalty of $33.5 for vehicles crisscrossing the country and threatened to impound the violator’s car for one month.

Under the scheme, all universities, schools, parks, cultural and sport events or any other place of gathering remain closed. All non-essential workplaces are in shutdown until the end of the initiative. The measures, which were initially introduced for two weeks, have been extended until April 8.



New Decisions Under Consideration

The country’s coronavirus taskforce will convene on Sunday to update its policies in regard with the fight against the coronavirus.

Rouhani on Friday ordered seven of its ministers and the head of the Central Bank of Iran to review the effects of the Social Distancing Initiative and prepare reports for Sunday’s meeting to make new decisions accordingly. 

According to the president, infections are down 30% since the implementation of the Social Distancing Initiative. The government continues to urge Iranians to stay at home in an attempt to slow the spread of the infection or “flatten the curve”, granting hospitals some breathing space to avoid pushing the healthcare system to capacity. 

Iran’s armed forces have built makeshift hospitals across the country and are perpetually disinfecting public places to help combat the infectious disease.

The judiciary has also extended prison furloughs for 100,000 inmates until April 19. Many prisoners were temporarily released in Iran, as social distancing is nearly impossible in jails.

The number of those infected with the coronavirus passed the one million mark on Thursday. As of Friday, more than 53,000 have perished from COVID-19 worldwide.

Several vaccines and treatments for the flu-like disease are in the pipeline, but experts suggest that it can take up to 18 months before any cure or vaccination is available for mass production.


Toll Iran death toll death coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic confirmed cases