Iran Set to Lift Travel Curbs as Corona Containment Improves
EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani said the ban on inter-province travels placed to curb coronavirus transmission will be lifted on April 20, as Iran’s daily infection tally declines.
During the meeting of the coronavirus taskforce chaired by Rouhani on Sunday, the president announced that restrictions on road trips across Iran’s 31 provinces will be removed starting next Monday, President.ir reported.
According to Financial Tribune, Rouhani said low-risk businesses in Tehran will resume activities next Saturday.
Under the Smart Distancing Initiative, low-risk businesses in other parts of the country returned to work at the start of the week. The scheme allows workplaces to reopen if they commit to comply with strict protocols introduced by the Health Ministry.
Rouhani added, “The government is planning to make a decision on high-risk businesses as well.”
The president did not specify when his administration will settle on a course of action for high-risk workplaces, including gymnasiums, cinemas, beauty salons and stadiums.
“High-risk businesses will resume work after careful analysis and planning,” the top official said.
According to Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran reached 71,686 on Sunday, up by 1,657 a day earlier. The death toll also rose by 117 to 4,474.
Jahanpour added, “So far 43,894 patients have recovered from the infectious disease and 3,930 are in critical condition.”
In the past 24 hours, Iran carried out 11,685 coronavirus tests across the country.
Fasting Month of Ramadan
During the taskforce’s meeting, the president also commented on the upcoming fasting month of Ramadan, saying that the rituals of the holy month might have to be adjusted to the realities of life under the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak.
Rouhani said, “If the situation drags on, we will not have any mass gatherings in Ramadan and the state TV must fill that void for the public.”
After Iran passed the test of its New Year Holidays amid a pandemic that had sparked fears of a disaster, the country is now faced with a religious event, the one-month long Ramadan during which Muslims gather to break their fast together and the number of religious ceremonies spike.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had also asked the public on Thursday to “create a sense of Ramadan at home” during the Muslim holy month set to begin on April 25.
Rouhani in Sunday’s meeting also discussed public transport, which according to Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi is responsible for 26.5% of coronavirus transmissions.
The president noted, “All means of public transport must be disinfected at the start and the end of the work. Drivers must wear gloves and facemasks.”
He also pointed to the public transport shortage in the capital of Tehran and asked the residents to use private cars or travel with yellow taxis or online taxi services.
The world’s tally of infections stands at over 1.8 million and the death toll has risen to over 110,000. The United States is the worst-hit country in the world with over half a million coronavirus cases and more than 20,000 deaths.