EghtesadOnline: In line with its plan to gradually ease lockdown measures, Iran’s COVID-19 taskforce said schools and mosques are set to resume operations in counties with low risks of coronavirus transmission.
Chairman of the coronavirus taskforce, President Hassan Rouhani, said on Sunday, “We decided to reopen mosques and hold Friday prayers in 132 low-risk counties starting tomorrow [Monday].”
Students in “white” zones are scheduled to return to school on May 16, ISNA reported.
“White” zones constitute counties where there were no more than one hospitalization per 100,000 or 14 hospitalizations or less during a two-week period.
Religious centers and schools must comply with protocols devised by the Health Ministry aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly virus.
“Businesses and the public have abided by about 83% of health advices introduced by the Health Ministry,” Rouhani said in the taskforce’s meeting.
During the past month, Iran began to ease restrictions for low- and medium-risk businesses across the country, if they followed health protocols developed by the Health Ministry but kept high-risk places of business such as beauty salons, gyms and other places of gathering closed.
The top official announced on Sunday that high-risk businesses such as hair salons or sport centers will gradually reopen even in “red” zones, but reminded that, “the pandemic is still rampant and we might one day experience a peak”.
In its bid to contain the widespread outbreak, the Health Ministry has screened more than 78 million people. According to Rouhani, 30 million have already been covered under the second phase of the screening up to Sunday.
He noted that knowledge-based firms and producers have been galvanized into action since the pandemic began and some 1,000 ventilators have been added to hospitals, as well as 1,400 ICU beds.
“We are at a relatively good place with the containment of the coronavirus,” the president said.
Death Toll Lowest Since March 10
Fatalities from the novel coronavirus fell under 50 on Sunday, adding only 47 overnight deaths, the lowest in 55 days.
Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 47 patients have lost their lives during a 24-hour period, with the death toll reaching 6,203.
Iran added 976 to its COVID-9 caseload on Sunday, up by 174 a day earlier. The tally of infections rose to 97,424, the second highest in the Middle East.
“Nearly 2,690 are in critical condition, but the number of patients requiring hospitalization in intensive care units is declining,” Jahanpour said.
More than 78,400 have so far recovered from the infectious disease. Iran has carried out 496,000 tests to identify the coronavirus.
Health officials have urged the public to continue to heed social distancing measures and personal hygiene to maintain the country’s relative success in the management of the outbreak.
The total count of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world surpassed 3.5 million and fatalities have reached 245,000.