Iran plans phased lifting of lockdown
April 09 2020 01:25 AM
Hassan Rouhani
A handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency yesterday, shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chairing a cabinet session in the capital Tehran.


Iran’s president yesterday described how his country will go about lifting coronavirus lockdown measures as the outbreak is slowly brought under control.
“Of course we don’t want any more coronavirus victims; at the same time we don’t want to let people starve to death,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a message on state television, noting that many people have gone two months without being paid.
The government plans to relax the regulations in three phases, he said.
The first starts on Saturday, when those who are employed in sectors of the economy considered to have a low risk of infection can begin returning to their jobs, but only if they are not located in the capital Tehran.
In the second phase, the employment restrictions will be lifted in Tehran, the biggest city in Iran and the hotspot of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
At some point, industries considered at high risk will be allowed to reopen, said Rouhani, who did not specify which types of businesses can be reopened starting this Saturday and which can not. Finally, Rouhani said the third phase includes the opening of sport facilities, festival venues, religious sites and hair salons. Friday prayers remain cancelled for the time being, the president said. Iran has seen one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.
Iran yesterday reported 121 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing its overall number of fatalities to 3,993.
In the past 24 hours, 1,997 new cases of Covid-19 infection were detected in Iran, state news agency IRNA quoted health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour as saying.
That put the number of confirmed cases at 64,586, he added.
Iran, which announced its first Covid-19 cases on February 19, is by far the worst hit by the pandemic in the Middle East, according to official tolls.
Jahanpour said that while 3,956 patients were in critical condition, those who recovered had reached 29,812.
The spokesman added that Iran had carried out 220,975 Covid-19 tests to date, according to IRNA.
In a bid to halt Covid-19, Iran has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and imposed inter-city travel bans, while refraining from a lockdown.
Iran’s President Rouhani said a “second wave” of the fight against the coronavirus would start from Saturday, and that it would be more difficult.
“Low-risk” businesses would be allowed to reopen from Saturday, he said, because “we want to continue economic activities as much as possible while fighting coronavirus at the same time”.

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