Iran experiencing second wave of coronavirus infections

After reopening the country, the number of cases is back up again.

al-monitor Iranian lawmakers wear protective face masks and gloves, as they attend the opening ceremony of Iran's 11th parliament, as the spread of the coronavirus continues, in Tehran, Iran, May 27, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/WANA.

Jun 4, 2020

According to Iranian officials, the number of coronavirus cases in the country is on the rise and previously safe provinces are experiencing an increase in infections.

According to Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, 3,574 new cases have been confirmed in the country. This daily total is the highest number of cases for a 24-hour period since March before the country took restrictive measures to bring the total number of virus transmissions down. The country has since reopened due to economic necessity. Total cases have exceeded 164,000.

Jahanpour also said there were 59 confirmed deaths in the same 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to over 8,000.

After lifting lockdown measures, Iranian authorities divided provinces into color-coded zones, with red zones being forced to remain under restrictive lockdown measures and white zones being asked to follow health guidelines while resuming most daily activities. Jahanpour said that three provinces, Hormozgan, Khuzestan and Kurdistan, were placed under a “serious warning,” meaning they could soon be labeled red zones if their numbers of cases continue to rise.

Tasnim News Agency article explored reasons why some provinces are experiencing a second wave of infections and new findings on the spread of the virus. In all, the article believes individuals have relaxed their social distancing and have gone about their daily lives as previously. According to the article, Khuzestan has experienced an increase in cases due to trips and family gatherings that took place after Ramadan on May 23. This aspect — that is, the end of Ramadan as a factor in the increase of coronavirus cases— is more closely observed in this province with a high Arab population than it is in other provinces.

The article also stated that the warm weather has not slowed the spread of the virus, particularly in the warmer provinces of Hormozgan where the temperature is above 100 degrees.

According to the article, in addition to the provinces mentioned by the Health Ministry that are experiencing high levels of infections, other provinces are experiencing high numbers as well, including East Azerbaijani, Bushehr, Hamedan, coastal cities of Mazandaran provinces, Lorestan, Gilan, and Sistan and Baluchistan.

At a meeting today of the National Committee to Combat Coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians not to resume their daily lives. “We have to adjust our lives to this virus under every situation,” he said.

According to the statistics discussed at the meeting, almost 750 mosques have been reopened for Friday prayers since the country began reopening. Friday prayers had been canceled when the coronavirus first broke out. Mosques have reopened in white zones, but they are following specific health guidelines and social distancing inside. The committee said a decision would be made about reopening cinemas, theaters and other cultural centers by the end of June. 

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