Lockdown Ruled Out as Coronavirus Cases Reach 14,000

Lockdown Ruled Out as Coronavirus Cases Reach 14,000
Lockdown Ruled Out as Coronavirus Cases Reach 14,000

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will not be put under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country’s tally of confirmed cases climbed to 13,938 on Sunday and the death toll totaled 724, officials announced.
“There are no plans for a quarantine,” Rouhani said on Sunday, as 1,209 more people tested positive from a day earlier. 
The number of deaths rose by 113 to 724, ISNA quoted the Health Ministry.
Rouhani stressed, “There is no quarantine. Not today, not during the New Year holidays, not after it nor before it. Everyone can conduct their business.” 
The president was reacting to rumors of an immediate nationwide lockdown.
Referring to the decisions of taskforce dealing with the coronavirus, Rouhani reassured people that there is no shortage of sanitary goods in the country, including disinfectants.
He added, “We are negotiating with neighboring countries to resume travels, especially to trade goods in accordance with health protocols recommended by the World Health Organization.”
Rouhani also announced the administration’s relief plans to mitigate the economic impact of the outbreak on small businesses and the general public. 
The government will postpone tax payments, extend people’s installment plans and suspend utility bills for three months. It will also provide financial assistance to low-income families, who are estimated by the government to number three million. 
The president noted that the coronavirus pandemic should not hinder economic acitivity.
More than 4,500 people have recovered from the infectious disease. Three provinces did not report new cases on Sunday.



International Aid 

China sent two more health experts to Iran to help the country stem the spread of the virus. The two members of China’s Red Cross Society will join five other medical experts who arrived in Iran roughly two weeks ago. 
One of the health care providers had gained first-hand experience in handling the coronavirus outbreak as one of the medical staff in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected.
The experts are expected to remain in Iran until March 29. 
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to his Iranian counterpart on Saturday to promise a new cargo of supplies to defeat the infection and underlined the two country’s strategic partnership.
Qatar has also sent its first package of medical supplies to Tehran on Sunday. The six tons of equipment were sent to Iran on the order of the Qatari emir who visited the country mid-January.
More than 162,000 people have fallen ill due to the infection and 6,000 have died worldwide. The virus has spread to all continents, expect Antarctica.

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