Traffic in roads, streets and shopping centers will be limited

Iran’s top commanders hold first session on coronavirus outbreak 

March 13, 2020 - 16:0

TEHRAN - Top commanders of the IRGC, Army and police gathered together on Friday on how to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, called Covid-19. 

The session, held at the Imam Reza Health and Treatment Base in Tehran, was headed by Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the chairman of the Armed Forces Chief of Staff.

Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi; the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Hossein Salami; Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari; Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces for Coordination Affairs Major General Ali Abdollahi; and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces for Intelligence Affairs Brigadier General Gholamreza Ebrahimi were among the top commanders attending the session. 

The commanders reviewed establishment of the base in detail and exchanged views over its structure in order to activate the headquarters as soon as possible. 

After the meeting, General Baqeri announced that in the next seven or ten days all Iranian citizens will be screened to identify persons suspected of the coronavirus infection.

He said the screening will be done either through social media, telephone and if necessary in front of people’s homes.

The healthy people will stay at home but the suspects will be examined in certain medical centers which will be established for the purpose.
The commander said about 1000 mobile and fixed clinics will be added to the country’s health centers for the purpose.
The military chief also said in cooperation with the Interior Ministry the traffic in roads, streets and shopping centers will be limited.  These steps will be taken with the next 24 hours, Baqeri added.

In a decree on Thursday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the establishment of a “health and treatment headquarters” to prevent further spread of the coronavirus in the country.

In his edict, which was addressed to General Baqeri, Ayatollah Khamenei praised the services to the people by the Armed Forces in their drive to hamper further spread of coronavirus and said, “It is necessary that these services be organized in the form of a health and treatment headquarters.” 

Ayatollah Khamenei added, “In addition to establishing such treatment facilities as field hospitals and infirmaries, and so forth, you must focus on prevention of further spread of this disease through necessary means as well.

“Since there is speculation that this incident might be a ‘biological attack’, this measure could be also some form of biological defense drill, which would add to national power and strength [of the country],” the leader stated.

Earlier this month, Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari, the Army ground force commander, announced that the Army has produced unique equipment for diagnosing the virus in the shortest time possible. 

He said, “Our experts working for the Army’s self-sufficiency department have planned and built several unique equipment which should go under test by the Health Ministry. If everything goes well the equipment will be a great achievement in rapid diagnosis of the novel coronavirus.”

Heidari further said, “One of the army’s capabilities, which was unveiled in the ceremony…, was turning anti-bacterial liquids into fog to spray it over vast regions.”

“We enjoy anti-pollution systems which are currently utilized by our forces across the country,” the commander said, adding, “According to the pre-planned program, the Army ground force is in charge of sanitizing hospitals and medical centers in Tehran.”

The virus first emerged in China in December last year and is now spreading in Europe, the U.S. and across the Middle East, sparking fears of a global pandemic. 

The World Health Organization  (WHO) on Wednesday declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging what seemed clear for some time — the virus would likely spread to all countries on the globe.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation would worsen.

“We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” said Tedros, as the director-general is known.

As of Thursday, 114 countries have reported that 135,000 have contracted COVID-19. Nearly 5,000 people have thus far died.

Following the disease outbreak, the Iranian authorities ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural and sports events in a bid to contain the outbreak. 

The Iranian Health Ministry announced on Friday that totally 11,364 nationals have been confirmed infected by the virus, out of which 514 have lost their lives.

According to the Health Ministry, the health condition of a sum of 3,529 patients have improved.



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