Iran says still in first wave of virus outbreak

Iran reported its first two COVID-19 cases on February 19 in the holy city of Qom. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 30 June 2020

Iran says still in first wave of virus outbreak

  • Official figures have shown an upward trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May
  • Iran closed schools, canceled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April

TEHRAN: Iran’s coronavirus epidemic is still in its first wave, the health ministry said Tuesday, a day after reporting the highest single-day death toll since the country’s outbreak began in February.
“The coronavirus is currently peaking in border provinces or cities which did not experience a peak in the first months of the outbreak,” said ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.
“Therefore, we’re still witnessing the first wave in the country,” she said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
According to Lari, Iran would only have a second wave if there was another rise in cases in provinces that “had a significant peak” when the first cases were declared.
Iran reported its first two COVID-19 cases on February 19 in the holy city of Qom.
The central province of the same name quickly became one of the worst-hit, along with the northern province of Gilan, a popular tourist resort.
Official figures have shown an upward trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.
Iran recorded 162 coronavirus deaths on Monday, its highest figure for a single day, raising the total to 10,670 out of more than 225,200 cases of infection.
Authorities have so far refrained from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the pandemic’s spread and the use of masks and protective equipment has been optional in most areas.
Iran closed schools, canceled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
The increasing virus caseload has seen some previously unscathed provinces classified as “red” — the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale — with authorities allowing them to reimpose restrictive measures if required.
They include Khuzestan, Hormozgan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Bushehr, West and East Azerbaijan, and Khorasan Razavi, all located along Iran’s borders.


Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

Updated 44 min 55 sec ago

Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

  • Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday said France will return the remains of 24 resistance fighters who were killed during its colonization of the North African country.
“Within a few hours Algerian military planes will fly in from France and land at the Houari Boumediene international airport with the remains of 24 (members) of the popular resistance,” Tebboune said during a military ceremony.
Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century fighting against France which occupied and ruled Algeria for 132 years.
In his speech, Tebboune said these resistance fighters “had been deprived of their natural and human right to be buried for more than 170 years.”
One of the leaders whose remains are to be returned is Sheikh Bouzian, who was captured in 1849 by the French, shot and decapitated.
The remains of two other key figures of the resistance — Bou Amar Ben Kedida and Si Mokhtar Ben Kouider Al Titraoui — are also among those expected back in Algeria.
The country won independence from France in 1962 after eight years of bitter war that left some 1.5 million Algerians dead.
Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to be born after the war, made his first official visit to Algeria in December 2017, announcing that he came as a “friend” despite France’s historically prickly ties with its former colony.
At the time he told news website Tout sur l’Algerie that he was “ready” to see his country hand back the skulls of Algerian resistance fighters.
Algerian and French academics have long campaigned for the return of 37 skulls held at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris.
In December 2019, Macron said that “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for turning the page on the past.
During his presidential election campaign Macron had created a storm by calling France’s colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”