Wednesday, 25 March, 2020

Tehran shuts commercial centers to contain COVID-19, exempts malls, pharmacies

Officials in Tehran have closed down all commercial centers except for those related to food supplies and pharmacies as part of new restrictive measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Governor of Tehran province Hamidreza Goudarzi said on Sunday new social distancing directives about what activities are and are not allowed in the capital have been issued for the megapolis of some 12 million. 

Only convenience stores and pharmacies are allowed to stay open and other businesses breaching the order will be punished, he added. 

The new restrictions come as Iran is stepping up its campaign to curb a further spread of the disease.

Head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz said pharmacies across the country are replenished with protective masks, hand sanitizers and other hygiene products and there is no shortage in this regard.  

Alcohol production by Iranian companies has doubled in recent weeks. “We are currently producing 400,000 liters of alcohol on a daily basis,” Shanehsaz said.

Over 31 million people screened for COVID-19

Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said on Saturday that the country has screened more than 31 million people for the new coronavirus.

Raeisi also put the total number of infected individuals across the country at 20,610.

“With 123 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,556. Unfortunately, we had 966 new cases since yesterday,” he said, adding 7,635 patients had recovered from the infection.

He said the outbreak was showing signs of slowing down in almost all provinces.

MSF rushes medical aid, supplies to Iran

Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors Without Borders on Sunday sent a consignment of medical aid to Iran, Iranian Ambassador to Paris Bahram Qassemi said.

The cargo includes one field hospital, medicines, face masks, and protective clothing, he added.

The envoy said the consignment arrived in Tehran on board a charter flight from the French port city of Bordeaux on Sunday morning.

Social distancing to continue for two weeks: Rouhani 

On Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said social distancing will continue for two or three weeks as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is expected to slow down by then.  

The president urged people to stay indoors and restrict their social interactions as much as they can to help slow the spread of the contagious virus.

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