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Iran's top security body rejects lockdown of epidemic areas

Iran said its death toll from the coronavirus epidemic will not stop rising until around the second week of April, while insisting that a lockdown on the hardest-hit provinces is not an option.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), formed by its most powerful officials and chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, has rejected demands from health authorities on the ground to lock down the northern province of Gilan, where the coronavirus epidemic is on a deadly march from one overwhelmed hospital to another.

Lawmakers and medical staff in other areas have made similar requests, including in the clergy-based city of Qom — the epicenter of the disease — and Mazandaran province, which has witnessed a particularly worrisome hike in its infected cases. Superiors in Tehran have rejected those calls as well.

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