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Iran Press TV

Iran will restore COVID-19 restrictions again if forced to do so: Rouhani

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 13 June 2020 9:48 AM

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will restore the strict restrictions put in place in the first days of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic if it is forced to do so for the sake of the people's safety.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani discussed the situation in Iranian provinces with regard to the outbreak.

Many provinces have passed the first COVID-19 infection peak and their situation is no longer an emergency, but several others are still about to pass it, he said, raising concerns about a drop in people's observance of health protocols.

"In the Persian month of Ordibehesht (April 20-May 21), "people cooperated better in implementing heath guidelines and we witnessed a proper situation, but in the middle of the month of Khordad, the observance level decreased from about 80 to 20 percent; it could be worrying," Rouhani added.

Iran reported its first COVID-19 infection cases in late February and soon afterwards introduced lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures to rein in the pandemic.

In recent week, as the infection and mortality rates have declined, the government has eased certain restrictions and reopened businesses and public places.

"All these re-openings are conditional on collective cooperation. If we are forced to, we will restore the restrictions. If a peak returns to a province, we have to restore the restrictions of the first weeks. If the heath of the people in a city or a province is endangered, we have no option but to restore the restrictions. If we want the restrictions to reduce, we must observe all principles," Rouhani said.

Like many other countries, Iran is grappling with the highly contagious coronavirus that is believed to have first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading across the globe.

Over 182,500 Iranians have contracted the disease and 8,659 have died while more than 144,600 patients have recovered, according the latest figures released by the Health Ministry.

'Coronavirus created opportunities'

Rouhani stressed that Iran has not reached herd immunity that happens when a virus can no longer spread easily because sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the virus.

"The coronavirus had caused problems for us, but it also created opportunities. It mobilized all government branches, political parties and groups, forming a national coalition for heath and livelihood, i.e. a national coalition for life. That is a great achievement," he said.

"The experience gained over the past months tells us that we will be prevail against both the coronavirus and sanctions if we stand together and join hands."

Illegal US sanctions on Iran have hampered Iran's ability to adequately respond to the pandemic and prevented the country from purchasing life-saving medical items from abroad.

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