Iran to issue fines for those not wearing masks

Struggling to slow a third wave of the coronavirus, Iran is hoping issuing fines will help.

al-monitor Iranian women wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic shop in the capital, Tehran, on Aug. 4, 2020.  Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images.

Oct 1, 2020

In an effort to slow down the third wave of the coronavirus in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said the country would fine those not following the health guidelines that have been recommended by the Health Ministry.

Rouhani announced the fines Oct. 1 at a meeting of the National Headquarters for Combatting Coronavirus. He said the fines would be applicable to offices, private businesses and public spaces. Provinces would have some discretion in how strict they would be required to adhere to the health protocols. The plan to issue fines for those not wearing masks was initially presented Aug. 18, but in recent statements by administration officials, it appears they are at least threatening to do so now.

According to Rouhani, authorities will have to be stricter in the coming months with issuing fines because of the flu on top of the coronavirus.

In the last 24 hours, 211 people in Iran have died of the coronavirus. The daily death rate had recently dropped to around 150 and even lower but has been slowing climbing back up. Over 26,000 Iranians have died from the virus. Health Ministry officials have previously said, however, that this number only includes confirmed deaths, meaning those 26,000 had tested positive for the virus before they died, and other individuals who had been treated for the virus and were symptomatic but were never tested were not included in the official numbers.

All of Iran’s provinces have cities that are officially referred to as “red zones,” meaning they must adhere to stricter health guidelines. Officially, 158 Iranian cities have been declared red zones.

Due to economic pressure, Iran was unable to sustain a long-term lockdown and was forced to open back up. Despite the health guidelines, many citizens still did not adhere to what the Health Ministry presented and continued living their daily lives as they normally would. In previous months, some of the main causes of the coronavirus spread were large events and gatherings such as weddings.

Iran has very few options until a vaccine is created. In a statement on the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Rouhani said Iran is ready to participate in producing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Vatan Emrooz, a conservative newspaper, has criticized the administration for rolling out a plan to issue fines for those not adhering to the health guidelines. The article argued that none of the ministries have issued clear guidelines with details on what the protocols are. The article also criticized the idea of issuing fines for individuals who do not wear masks, arguing that masks are becoming increasingly expensive. Furthermore, it is not clear how or by whom the individuals will be fined if they are stopped for not wearing masks. The article dismissed this new plan by the administration to begin issuing fines, saying such plans were supposed to have been in place months ago but were never implemented.

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