EghtesadOnline: The COVID-19 infections in Iran crossed 70,000 and the death toll rose above 4,300 on Saturday, health officials announced.
Iran added 1,837 patients to its caseload in 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 70,029. Deaths due to the deadly virus also reached 4,357, up by 125 a day earlier, Health Ministry’s Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour was also quoted as saying by ISNA.
According to Financial Tribune, nearly 42,000 have been discharged from hospitals and 3,987 remain in critical condition. Iran has carried out more than 251,000 coronavirus tests across the country.
President Hassan Rouhani, in a meeting with officials of the coronavirus taskforce, said on Saturday the Iranian people need to be informed of health protocols that can help them navigate the challenges of working during an ongoing pandemic.
Rouhani added, “Iranians need to know that there are still restrictions in place for gatherings and in high-risk environments. People should not leave homes for unnecessary reasons.”
Iran launched its Smart Distancing Initiative on Saturday, which allows low-risk businesses to resume activities under the direct supervision of the Health Ministry. The plan will be implemented countrywide by next week.
Rouhani said, “What matters in this phase is to localize social distancing in accordance with the guidelines set by the World Health Organization.”
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi held an online conference on Saturday to brief reporters on the latest developments in the fight against COVID-19.
According to Harirchi, the ministry has devised 98 protocols for 12,000 occupations, which can be accessed on Salamat.gov.ir.
The Smart Distancing Initiative obligates business owners to register on the Health Ministry’s website and commit to following specific health protocols in the workplace to receive a permit that allows them to reopen places of work.
Harirchi added, “So far, 371,500 have registered on the website and received the permit, as well as the necessary health protocols.”
The deputy health minister noted that they are “in no rush” to reopen universities and schools, pointing out that schools account for 11% of coronavirus transmissions and universities for 7%.
“There are roughly 14 million university students and four million students in the country. Taking into consideration the number of educators, almost one-fourth of the population are involved in the education sector,” he said.
Harirchi noted that by reopening universities, students from all over the country will travel to tightly-packed dormitories that could add to the chances of transmission.
“Therefore, adopting preventive measures will prove effective,” he added.
Education centers are among the few places untouched by the new initiative.
Means of public transportation, according to the deputy minister, are responsible for 26.5% of coronavirus transmissions and involve millions of employees who have returned to work since Saturday under Iran’s localized variation of social distancing.
Coronavirus cases topped 1.7 million on Saturday and the related deaths surged to 103,500 worldwide.