Tough measures to be taken to contain coronavirus outbreak in Iran

March 25, 2020 - 13:16

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that stricter measures will be taken in the country to combat coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

Rouhani said in a meeting on Tuesday at the national headquarters tasked to contain the coronavirus outbreak it was proposed that “stricter” measures be taken and the Health Ministry proposed social distancing and said “in certain places we should enforce stricter measures”.

Speaking in the cabinet, Rouhani said those who have gone to the Persia New Year trips should immediately return to their hometowns and the “second wave of travels” should be stopped.

The Persian New Year which began on March 19 will last for two weeks.

So far 2,070 people in Iran have died from the novel coronavirus and 27,017 diagnosed with the disease. The Health Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that 43 of those who have died were health workers.

Iran introduces travel bans

Immediately after the president’s remarks, Iran began banning people from leaving their cities and requiring those who are already on trips to return at the earliest opportunity.

“In light of the fact that the country has brought the first wave [of the outbreak] under control and in order to prevent a new wave, the president announced a ban on all new inter-city trips,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei tweeted.

He warned, “Those violating this directive will be subjected to legal action.”

The spokesman also said all parks and sites that might draw large crowds of people will be closed.

According to the decision taken by the headquarters, public offices and businesses are all ordered closed, except for stores supplying groceries and basic supplies, until April 3.

Rabiei said the Judiciary is set to announce the legal implications of violating the measures, and the Law Enforcement Forces are required to act upon the announcement.

According to the World Health Organization, since emerging in central China late last year, the respiratory disease has claimed more than 18,900 lives and infected more than 425,000 others.

In the Wednesday meeting of the cabinet, Rouhani also pointed to the United States’ illegal sanctions against Iran that Washington was keeping in place amid the Islamic Republic’s battle against the virus despite a global outcry.

He said a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council — that he did not name — was to present the council with a draft resolution protesting the bans.

“What is being talked about at the Security Council now is that a resolution should be ratified to enable the lifting of the sanctions amid the virus outbreak,” Rouhani said, according to press TV.

He added efforts are underway to unlock Iran’s frozen assets overseas.

“Good steps are being taken to that end,” the president stated without specifying.

EM/MG/PA

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