Iran screens 14mn for COVID-19, gets foreign aid in anti-virus fight
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 17 March 2020 11:06 AM
Iran's Health Minister Saeed Namaki says 14 million people have been screened for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms as part of a national mobilization plan to curb the pandemic.
Namaki said on Monday that a significant number of those people had been screened over the past four days via the Health Ministry's online platform – salamat.gov.ir – and the rest through phone calls, electronic health dossiers and two online health screening systems run by the ministry.
"Out of the 14 million monitored for the coronavirus infection, some 73,435 had symptoms. After evaluations, 3,415 of them were referred to hospitals, out of whom 1,605 were hospitalized and the remaining were either discharged with prescriptions or sent to other centers," he noted.
The screening process, he added, helped the ministry reduce hospital referrals by diagnosing and suitably addressing the cases of those vulnerable to infection, the individuals carrying the virus without symptoms and the people in contact with the infected.
Namaki also expressed hope that the program would be extended to provide nationwide coverage in the coming days.
In line with a range of measures taken so far to contain the coronavirus spread, Iran shut the holy shrines of the eighth Shia Imam, Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (PBUH), in Mashhad, his sister Hazrat Fatimah Masoumah in Qom and Shah Abdol-Azim in Tehran until further notice.
Iran reports new cases, death toll
The Iranian Health Ministry updated the latest number of infections and deaths caused by the viral infection in the country on Tuesday.
With 1,178 new cases diagnosed in the past 24 hours, the total number of infections reached 16,169.
Also, the fatality count increased to 988, with 135 news deaths.
A total of 5,389 patients have fully recovered.
Iran gets foreign aid amid US sanctions
Also on Monday, the Islamic Republic received foreign aid as US sanctions have hampered the country's battle against the coronavirus and severely impacted the Iranians' access to life-saving medical supplies.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) sent its third aid consignment to Iran.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said the UNICEF packages include hygiene items as well as guidelines in Persian language on how to protect children against the virus and create a safe place for them at home.
The United Arab Emirates also dispatched two planes carrying 32 tons of medical supplies and relief equipment to support Iran's efforts.
Emirati Minister of State for International Cooperation Affairs Reem Bint Ibrahim al-Hashemi said, "The UAE's support to Iran reflects the humanitarian principles on which our county was founded. Providing assistance to save the lives of those in distress is essential to serve the common human interest."
In a video message on his Instagram page on Monday, UK Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire said Britain, France and Germany had provided Iran with medical items and five million euros in aid.
Additionally, Uzbekistan sent similar relief supplies to Iran.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted, "Tons of medical equipment just received from #Uzbekistan, #UAE & @UNICEF. My country is sincerely thankful for these humanitarian efforts and will never forget the way they stood with #Iran in hard times."
85k prisoners temporarily freed
Iran's Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said 85,000 prisoners, including half of those serving time on security charges, had temporarily been freed following outbreak.
"Some 50% of those released are security-related prisoners ... Also inside the jails, we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak," he pointed out, without elaborating on when those released would have to return to jail.
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