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Iranian President: No Shortage of Hospital Beds, Medical Staff to Fight Coronavirus

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country is not facing any shortage in hospital beds, physicians and nurses in combat against the coronavirus epidemic, but meantime, stressed that Iran will import any necessary medicine and equipment if needed.

“Fortunately, we have no shortage of beds, doctors and nurses in the country and even in intensive care units in many cities and provinces, we have more room,” Rouhani said, addressing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

“Today, our people are in relatively good conditions for meeting their needs, and we have no shortage of beds, doctors and nurses,” he added.

“Fighting this dangerous virus and, at the same time, supplying people’s basic needs have been imperative and important to us,” President said.

“The fact that in the recent days, we have been forced to shut down a major part of the country’s economic activities, except for businesses that provide people with basic needs and goods, like grocery stores or drugstores, was because people’s health is very important to us,” he added.

Noting that a major part of the government’s employees, around 2.4mln people, are not at work, except for the health sector who are doing their best, he said, “We have told a major part of governmental sectors that they should go to work in shifts, with 1/3 of them going to work.”

“This is all because we are forced to supply water, power, energy and foodstuff; we have to get the farmer’s products to the shops and all those who are working in production must be able to continue their activities to its maximum amount to provide for people’s needs,” Rouhani said.

“So, let’s pay attention to the fact that we need a major part of people to stay at home and we need a minority to supply their basic needs,” he added.

“This is happening very well. Today, our people are in relatively good conditions for meeting their needs.

We have to thank all drivers who are carrying the goods from ports, take the raw materials to factories and then take the products from factories to shops.”

The President thanked the personnel of the rail and air transport sector who are supplying people’s basic needs, and said, “The currency that is needed for medicine and people’s treatment and personal care products and we have to supply from other countries, will be supplied without any exception.”

“In the field of treatment and screening, good work has been done in the country and today, we can identify and find out who needs more care and who needs to stay at home, who needs to be hospitalised and who should be in intensive care unit.”

“Fortunately, we have no shortage of beds, doctors and nurses in the country and even in intensive care units in many cities and provinces, we have more room.”

“I should also thank the foreign ministry, and our dear people must know that our first instruction was that any country that wants to help, we will receive their help regarding coronavirus.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also started a good attempt for saying no to sanctions. Right now, there is this issue raised at the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution that under coronavirus conditions, all sanctions must be lifted, and they are active in this regard,” he added.

“I talked with a non-permanent member country on the phone and he said that their initiative is ready and they are after presenting it to the UNSC.”

The President said that there are efforts going on to unfreeze our frozen assets in different countries under these conditions, and good steps have been taken in this regard, adding, “I want to tell our dear people that today, different sectors are trying to supply their medical and health needs.”

“The figures that the Governor General of Khorasan Razavi gave yesterday show that our railways are bringing 85 per cent less passengers to Mashhad and air travel has decreased 88 per cent, which means that people are cooperating.”

“Yesterday at the session of the National Task Force for Fighting Coronavirus, we discussed that more strict. We may be stricter towards trips and problems that they make for people.”

“Our people must know that these strict decisions are for protecting their lives and we know that these decisions will be hard for people, but we have no choice. The reason is that people’s lives is very important for us. We managed the first wave of the disease and we might have another wave ahead of us in the coming days, which we must manage.”

He said that the success of any plan will require people’s cooperation, adding, “That means if you all cooperate and help the government, we can implement these plans more easily.”

“The last point I want to mention is regarding the rainfalls in some parts of the country, which were severe in some parts, causing floods. Here, I have to thank all those who rushed to help in these areas. Hopefully, we can overcome these problems in a short time with God’s help,” Rouhani concluded.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 180 countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 19,000 people and infected over 423,000 others globally.

Iran reported on Tuesday that a total number of 1,934 coronavirus patients have died and 24,811 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 8,931 people have also recovered.

The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended until early April.

The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.

Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.

He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.

Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.

He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.

Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran’s response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.

The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.

The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

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