Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says social distancing will continue for two or three weeks as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is expected to slow down by then.
Social distancing measures to stop the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country will be needed for two or three weeks as the outbreak is expected to ease by then, Rouhani said on Saturday.
The measures include travel restrictions and school closures.
The president urged people to stay indoors and restrict their social interactions as much as they can to help slow the spread of the contagious virus.
He made the comments in an address to a meeting of the country’s national headquarters tasked with containing the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Rouhani said “anti-revolutionary elements” have orchestrated plots to shut down Iran’s economic production, noting that every necessary measure needs to be taken in order to “return economic production to normal”.
COVID-19 slows down across Iran
Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi on Saturday put the total number of infected individuals across the country at 20,610.
“With 123 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,556. Unfortunately, we had 966 new cases since yesterday,” he said on state TV.
Raisi also said that so far 7,635 patients have been recovered from the infection.
He said the outbreak is showing signs of slowing down in almost all provinces, including hardest-hit provinces like Tehran and Mazandaran.
US sanctions have exhausted Iran’s economic resources: Zarif
In a recent interview with the Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said US sanctions have drained the country’s economic resources, calling for their removal.
“The sanctions have exhausted our economic resources, not only the reserves from our oil industry but also the private sector. The policy of maximum pressure against us prevents our exports, so we have fewer resources to invest,” he said.
He added, “We are a rich country, but because of the sanctions we are not able to obtain necessary resources to help the affected population. Sanctions prevent us from buying drugs and equipment.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he was asked about Washington’s offer to help Tehran with the outbreak and why Iran spurned it.
“This offer was hypocritical. All the US needs to do is to stop economic terrorism. We will take care of ourselves and have enough friends in the world to help us. If you are not ready to do this, then we ask the world to stop just watching this bullying. This is inhumane. Iranians are dying”.
‘Iranians harmed both by coronavirus and US economic terrorism’
In a message issued to the American people on Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said “brutal” US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the Iranian nation are robbing a great number of Iranians of health, jobs and sources of income.
“At a time that the Iranian people are harmed by both the deadly coronavirus and the most brutal form of US economic terrorism in history, the US government is not willing to abandon its malicious policy of maximum pressure; and is thus in practice aiding the spread of this virus with its sanctions.”