COVID-19: Iran Will Reimpose Restrictions If Measures Not Obeyed; Ex-Pakistan Cricket Captain Tests Positive
By RFE/RL June 13, 2020
The global death toll from the coronavirus is approaching 430,000 with more than 7.6 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.
Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.
Iran's President Hasan Rohani has said that restrictions to stem the coronavirus pandemic will be reimposed in the country if citizens continue to disobey public-health regulations.
After gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, Iran in recent weeks has seen a sharp rise of new daily infections.
Rohani said in a televised speech on June 13 that compliance with health regulations had been as high as 80 percent in mid-May. But he said compliance was now down to only about 20 percent.
Rohani blamed Iran's latest surge of COVID-19 on travelers that he said had been spreading the coronavirus to previously low-risk provinces.
With 2,410 new cases on June 13, the total number of confirmed cases in Iran is now about 185,000.
Iran's Health Ministry said on June 13 that 71 people had died from the virus during the previous 24 hours.
The total number of deaths in Iran from COVID-19 on June 13 was 8,730, the ministry said.
Rohani expressed concern about mass prayers at the recently reopened Imam Reza shrine, Iran's largest Shi'ite Muslim religious complex in the northeast of the country.
"If there is no cooperation, we will have to reimpose the restrictions," Rohani said, adding that adherence to the health restrictions was needed "to keep businesses open."
Tehran faced resistance from hard-line clerics before it closed holy shrines in mid-March. The closures sparked protests with angry crowds storming the shrines of Imam Reza in Mashhad and Fatemeh Massoumeh in Qom.
Former Pakistani cricket captain Shahid Afridi says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, as the number of positive cases accelerates across the South Asian country.
"I've been feeling unwell since Thursday; my body had been aching badly. I've been tested and unfortunately I'm COVID positive," he wrote on Twitter on June 13.
"Need prayers for a speedy recovery, Inshallah (God willing)," added Afridi, who still has a huge global fan base.
Since retiring from international cricket in 2018, Afridi has been active in charity work through his own foundation.
Afridi's foundation has been providing food to people in remote areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Pakistan has officially recorded over 132,405 positive cases and 2,551 deaths from the coronavirus as of June 13, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has warned that the spread of the coronavirus in his country is "bad," a day after his government extended a public-health state of emergency until mid-July.
"Our situation with the coronavirus spread is bad," Pashinian said on June 13. "I want to report that yesterday we registered a new record. Medics confirmed 723 new infections. Six patients, unfortunately died."
"I must be honest. I am very much upset with these figures," Pashinian said.
Pashinian also said he had traveled to his office on June 13 by car and "could see from a window of the car that people continue to breach epidemiological safety rules."
At an extraordinary session on June 12, the government decided to extend the coronavirus state of emergency until July 13.
It was the third extension of the state of emergency since it was introduced in mid-March.
Armenia began relaxing its strict lockdown rules in mid-April as new infections were rising sharply.
The total number of confirmed infections in the country was just under 1,400 when Armenia began reopening the economy.
Including the figures announced by Pashinian on June 13, the total number of infections in the country is now more than 16,000 with 264 deaths.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he will switch to "a special work mode" after his wife tested positive for coronavirus.
The presidential office said on June 12 that Zelenskiy will cancel face-to-face meetings, suspend any trips and events, and strictly limit personal contact to close aides and security.
Zelenskiy tested negative for coronavirus and will now take daily coronavirus tests and undergo medical examinations.
Olena Zelenska, the president's wife, said earlier that she had tested positive.
Zelenska wrote on Facebook on June 12 that the test result took her by surprise.
"Today, I received back a positive result from the coronavirus test. Unexpected news, especially considering that my family and I continue to comply with all the regulations -- masks, gloves, minimal contact," Zelenska wrote, adding that her husband and children tested negative for the virus.
Ukraine's Health Ministry said on June 12 that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country was 29,753, including 870 deaths.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Armenian and Ukrainian services, Reuters, Fars, AFP, TASS, and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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