Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 354

Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 354Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 354

The number of deaths due to the coronavirus epidemic in Iran rose to 354 on Wednesday, from among 9,000 people who tested positive for the contagion, health officials said.
Iran reported 63 more deaths and 958 new confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing the total to 354 and 9,000, respectively, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced, ISNA reported.
The Health Ministry has asked people to disclose information about their health status on, which will allow officials to screen more people and track the virus’s movements.
Jahanpour said, “The ministry has called off the vacations of all health personnel across the country. All our colleagues are prepared to give assistance to the people.”
The Iranian New Year is set to begin on March 20, followed by a 13-day holiday that has raised concerns about a more rapid spread of the outbreak, prompting health officials to cancel the holidays of all health care providers.
The spokesman said, “This year’s Norouz [New Year] is like no other. It is not the time for trips or visiting relatives.”
Worries over Norouz also figured high in President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks during the administration’s weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Rouhani cautioned against non-essential trips and said, “Norouz should not turn into an opportunity for the virus to spread. Norouz should be used for achieving victory over the coronavirus.”



All-of-Government Approach

Rouhani said Iran’s coronavirus task force, which is overseen by the Health Ministry, will set up checkpoints at cities’ exit points to screen all departing passengers.
The president said, “Whenever the national task force announces, the body temperature of travelers will be checked and only those who are healthy will be allowed to exit cities.”
“Entry points will not be monitored to avoid discomforting travelers far from their homes,” he added.
According to Rouhani, the Economy Ministry and the Central Bank of Iran are exploring ways such as extending installment plans and postponing tax payments to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the general public.
The president noted that the Foreign Ministry is coordinating with other countries to secure aid for tackling the spread of the infection and the Roads Ministry is in charge of making travel routes safe for passengers. He had previously ordered the ministry to disinfect major transportation hubs such as train stations and airports.  
Rouhani called on people to “break the chain” of the coronavirus spread and “take the outbreak seriously” during this “unprecedented problem in the country’s past few decades”.
The respiratory illness has spread to all 31 provinces of Iran, with northern and central provinces among the most-affected regions.
Over 120,000 people have caught the virus worldwide and 66,000 have recovered.

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