Tehran, Mar 27 (efe-epa).- Stricter social distancing measures come into force in Iran on Friday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 32,300 with more than 2,370 deaths.
The country saw almost 3,000 new infections and 144 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry.
Authorities have reported that more than 11,100 people have recovered from the disease.
The social distancing plan will be in effect until at least April 3, coinciding with the end of Nowruz, Iranian New Year.
Among the main restrictions are that cities can only be entered by their residents, in order to prevent trips that many citizens normally make to celebrate the new year.
Schools and universities will remain closed and the celebration of any ceremony, whether official or informal, is prohibited.
Tourist sites and leisure centres are closed, as well as public gardens and parks which had already been closed on Friday with locked gates or with security tape.
Shops cannot open their doors, apart from those that sell basic essentials, while public administration offices will operate with a maximum of a third of normal staffing levels.
Restrictions will also be applied to travel by plane, train and bus.
Anyone found in breach of the rules could face a fine.
Iran’s government has warned the measures could be extended if approved by the country’s coronavirus management committee.
The country has also started testing plasma treatment, which involves injecting the plasma of people who have recovered from the coronavirus into those who are ill.
On Thursday the Iranian government has asked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for permission to mobilise $1 billion to fight the pandemic.
The effect of the outbreak on the country’s already battered economy is a particular concern.
Iran has been plagued by United States sanctions that have hindered its access to medicines and medical equipment internationally.
Tehran has asked Washington to end its policy of maximum pressure while the country grapples with the health coronavirus.
The World Health Organization and a number of countries have sent Tehran shipments of medical aid including masks, protective suits and diagnostic equipment. EFE-EPA