Iran to enact new restrictions as coronavirus deaths soar

Iran is taking some new measures to address its rising death count and considering others.

al-monitor A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Oct. 24, 2020, shows him wearing a protective face mask as he gives a speech in the capital Tehran during a meeting of the national staff to discuss the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis Photo by KHAMENEI.IR/AFP via Getty Images.

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restrictions, covid-19, iranian politics, travel ban, coronavirus

Nov 5, 2020

The number of coronavirus deaths in Iran has increased drastically in the last few weeks, causing officials to enact new restrictions on traffic and stores.

In the last weeks of October, Iran saw average daily deaths to the virus in the 300s. But in each of the last five days, coronavirus deaths have reached over 400, with a high of 440. There were nearly 9,000 new cases in Iran in the last 24 hours with nearly 3,000 hospitalizations. The total number of infected has exceeded 650,000. With 406 confirmed coronavirus deaths, the total is now nearly 37,000 with essentially over 1,000 more every three days.

Iran’s Health Ministry spokesperson urged Iranians to use public transportation as little as possible. She also urged individuals who have no other choice but to use public transportation to wear masks, not speak during the ride, avoid touching hand rails and not use cash. 

The alarming new numbers have forced authorities to implement new measures to stop the spread of the virus. At the anti-coronavirus task force meeting, President Hassan Rouhani announced “severe restrictions” in areas of heavy outbreaks. Rouhani said that the task force will increase monitoring to ensure health protocols are being followed. He said the new restrictions will be in place for two weeks.

Rouhani said that the task force decide whether to limit traffic between provinces once again. The new restriction could start in five days and block all nonessential travelers from driving from one province to another. One of the problems in the lockdowns has been that Iranians have used the time to travel to popular vacation areas in the north or other provinces, contributing to the virus' spread and defeating the purpose of the restrictions. 

Rouhani also spoke about the US election today. At the opening ceremony for a project to desalinate water from the Persian Gulf and bring it to inland deserts, Rouhani said that despite the sanctions from the US administration, Iran has been able to “take very large steps.” The project is in the early stages of implementation.

Rouhani said, “I am certain the Iranian nation will be victorious,” adding that “it is not important for us” who wins the US election. “Regardless of who has power, there is no doubt that the next government will give in to Iran and follow international law,” Rouhani added. 

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