Tehran has extended Iran’s coronavirus restrictions after the country recorded a coronavirus death every five minutes over the past 24 hours, with its national coronavirus task force warning hospital beds are running out.
Iranian health authorities urged the public on Monday to respect coronavirus restrictions after the country reported 337 new deaths and 5,960 new cases over the past 24 hours, averaging out at one death from the virus every five minutes.
Alireza Zali, who is running Tehran’s Coronavirus Combat Headquarters, reaffirmed this message and urged “everyone to respect the protocols,” stating that “our doctors and nurses are tired.” While meeting members of the national coronavirus task force on Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for “decisive governance actions” and stricter penalties for rule-breakers, saying that “since security and economic aspects also arise from this illness, the health of the people should be the priority in making decisions.”
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi warned last week that the pandemic could cause 600 deaths per day over the coming weeks if Iranians do not follow the protocols that authorities have put in place.
Since October 3, as case numbers and deaths soared, Tehran closed mosques, schools, shops, restaurants and public institutions. In response to the escalating situation, state TV has announced that the closures will be extended to November 20, with further “extreme measures and limitations” set to be imposed on 43 counties across Iran in which the infection rates are viewed as alarming.
Earlier this month, Ayatollah Khamenei ordered all military hospitals to accept people who have coronavirus, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pledging “the entire medical and support capacity of the IRGC.”
As it grapples to get the pandemic under control, Iran has attacked US sanctions for hampering its ability to tackle the virus. In return, America accused Iran of “incompetent and deadly governance” and refused to lift the measures that were reintroduced after 2018, following the Trump administration’s departure from the 2015 Iran deal.
Iran has been hit hardest by the virus out of any country in the Middle East, with over 574,856 cases and 32,953 deaths since the start of the global pandemic. 21 of the country’s 31 provinces are currently on a coronavirus red alert due to the case numbers.
A report by the Islamic Parliament Research Centre (IPRC) back in April cautioned that the actual coronavirus figures could be almost double what has been announced by the health ministry.
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