Iranian President says coronavirus infections have peaked

Tehran, Mar 16 (EFE).- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said the coronavirus outbreak in the country had peaked, despite the death toll rising to 853 across almost 15,000 infections.

“According to the statistics provided, we have passed the peak stage of the coronavirus,” Rouhani said during a national working group meeting to combat the pandemic.

The president went on to describe the data as “promising.”

However, the figures from the Ministry of Health on Monday recorded 1,053 new cases in the last 24 hours, and 129 deaths as a result of Covid-19.

The data points to a slight reduction in the number of new infections but an increase in the number of deaths.

Almost 5,000 people have recovered from the disease in Iran.

To contain the outbreak, Rouhani announced that the Ministries of Health and Interior “will control the temperature of people starting tomorrow” at a series of road exits.

The move comes ahead of the Persian New Year which this year is on 20 March.

The celebrations usually see an increase in travel within the country as families gather for the occasions. Rouhani advised citizens to stay home.

Authorities have reiterated these recommendations and closed schools and universities as well as suspended all events. Despite the strict measures they are not as drastic as those adopted in Italy and Spain.

On Saturday the president ruled out a city-wide quarantine in Tehran or other cities.

He added shops, restaurants and cafes would not be closed.

“There are rumors that several stores and businesses would be quarantined in Tehran or in other cities; there is no such thing,” Rouhani said.

Commander of the Iranian Police Hossein Ashtari also ruled out a lockdown and quarantine.

The rumors were sparked after the chief of staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Bagheri reported on Friday that they were going to “clear shops, streets and roads of people” in 24 hours.

So far cinemas, theaters and gyms have closed, but shops and stores are generally still open, although the influx of customers is very low.


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