Sunday, 12 April, 2020

Rouhani pushes Iranians to ‘seriously’ observe protocols as curbs ease

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called on Iranians to respect health protocols aimed at containing the new coronavirus as “low-risk” economic activities resumed in most of the country.

Rouhani made the plea in a meeting of senior officials in charge of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday, expressing optimism about achieving “reliable conditions” in the fight against the viral pandemic provided that the health protocols are observed.

“If the cooperation and support of the people as well as the observance of restrictions and protocols continue with the same procedure that has been done so far, we can hope that we will gradually achieve reliable conditions in dealing with the coronavirus,” the Iranian president said.

The government authorized the so-called low-risk businesses to resume activities across the country from Saturday with the exception of the capital Tehran, where they will restart from April 18.

“The honorable people [of Iran] should know that the implementation of smart social distancing [rules] is only for low-risk businesses, and in no way should it be considered that the virus and its epidemic have completely disappeared,” Rouhani underlined. “All health protocols must be taken seriously.”

Iran has confirmed 70,029 cases of the coronavirus infection since the outbreak was reported in the country in late February. 

More than 41,947 people have recovered and 4,357 died of the virus, according to the latest updates provided by the Health Ministry on Saturday. 

The figures come as Iran has been under draconian US sanctions — particularly on the import of medical equipment — amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus, which continues to take its toll across the world.

The Iranian government has said it would exhaust all its resources to ensure there would be sufficient protective gear and vital equipment to respond to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The United States reinstated its sanctions against Iran in 2018 after leaving a United Nations-endorsed nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other major powers — the UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany.

Washington claims that it has exempted foodstuffs and medicine from the bans, something that Tehran entirely disputes.

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