Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday banned people from holding ceremonies to celebrate weddings and funerals as the number of coronavirus cases in the country continues to rise steeply.
“Both are banned until further notice,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting, and said that the requirement for people to wear face masks in public places should remain in place.
“That’s the only way we can start into autumn feeling relaxed,” Rouhani was cited as saying by Isna news agency.
Thousands of Iranians have been infected with the virus while attending wedding and funeral ceremonies where protective health regulations were not observed, according to the Health Ministry.
Alongside travelling by public transport, such ceremonies are the places where people are most likely to become infected, the ministry said.
Iran recorded a surge in cases this week, with 350 deaths due to the virus reported during the last 48 hours.
More than 5,200 people were infected with the coronavirus in the same period.
In total, more than 12,000 people in the country have died of the virus, and more than 250,000 have been infected, the ministry said yesterday, according to a report by the IRNA news agency.
Earlier, Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that another 153 deaths had been recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 12,084.
She said total cases had risen to 248,379 with 2,691 more people testing positive,AFP reported. Nine of Iran’s 31 provinces are now classified as “red”, the highest category in the country’s virus risk scaling.
Another 10 are on alert including the capital Tehran and the surrounding province, Lari added.
“Tehran is facing a very fragile situation,” said Alireza Zali, the head of the city’s virus taskforce.
“The number of infections, deaths and hospitalisations have been on a sharp rising trajectory in the past 10 days,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
Zali said that Tehran needs “more restrictive measures” to contain the virus and will discuss their reimposition in an emergency meeting with the health minister.
His deputy, Ali Maher, told ISNA that measures may be reintroduced as soon as Saturday.
Some red provinces have already reimposed restrictions in recent weeks after receiving a green light from the government.
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