Iranians defy coronavirus rules as death toll reaches 3,452

Officials have repeatedly complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the New Year holidays that began on March 20. (AP)
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Updated 05 April 2020

Iranians defy coronavirus rules as death toll reaches 3,452

  • The total number of cases diagnosed with the disease reached 55,743

DUBAI: A senior Iranian health official said the greater Tehran area may face a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resurgence after many residents flouted advisories to stay home, crowding streets and causing traffic jams across the city as the country’s New Year holidays ended on Saturday.
Iran said earlier on Saturday that 158 more coronavirus patients had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 3,452. The total number of cases reached 55,743.
“We are still concerned about the virus, for example with the level of traffic in Tehran today and queues of cars stuck on freeways, because these people can take the virus to their homes or workplaces,” Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said on state TV.
“Even a medium level of virus here can spread to nearby cities with the high level of job-related traffic between nearby cities and Tehran,” said Harirchi, who has himself been ill with COVID-19.
“Dr. Harirchi cautioned about a probable return of coronavirus in case of negligence and said social distancing measures were absolutely necessary,” said the TV.
The television showed stores that had reopened despite a closure order on nonessential services and businesses. Only enterprises involved in production have been allowed to reopen while following anti-coronavirus precautions.

We are still concerned about the virus, for example with the level of traffic in Tehran today and queues of cars stuck on freeways, because these people can take the virus to their homes or workplaces.

Iraj Harirchi, Deputy Health Minister

Officials have repeatedly complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the New Year holidays that began on March 20.
Iranians traditionally travel to home provinces and popular vacation spots and organize family gatherings during the New Year holidays. Officials initially urged people to cancel such plans due to the coronavirus outbreak, and then imposed intercity travel bans on March 25.
Earlier the judiciary said most of some 70 inmates who escaped from a prison in western Iran last month are now back in jail. About 100,000 prisoners have been granted temporary release due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Iranian media have reported unrest in several prisons.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 19 min 55 sec ago

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.