Religious Curbs to Ease in Virus-Free Zones

Rouhani said the country has 127 “white” cities at present and they can reopen mosques and gather for Friday prayers while observing health protocols set by the Health Ministry
Religious Curbs to Ease in Virus-Free ZonesReligious Curbs to Ease in Virus-Free Zones

Iran’s COVID-19 taskforce is set to divide the country into three zones based on the extent of coronavirus transmissions to prioritize the relaxation of restrictions on religious and holy sites.
President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday announced that Iran will be split into three zones, “white” regions that have reported no new coronavirus cases, “yellow” zones with a moderate number of infections and “red” zones where the spread of the virus is alarming.
Rouhani explained, “If the Health Ministry says a city has reported no new cases, no deaths and the recovery rate is high for seven days and the trend repeats itself for a second week, the area will be declared ‘white’ zone,” ISNA reported.
“Any province or city pronounced ‘white’ can open its religious sites and hold Friday prayers,” he added.
The closure of mosques provoked an outcry following the start of the holy month of Ramadan when worshippers gather for communal prayer and breaking their daylong fast.
The headquarters for fighting the pandemic is still deliberating whether to open high-risk businesses in areas listed as “white”. As per the Smart Distancing Initiative, Iran has allowed the nationwide reopening of low- and medium-risk businesses to reduce the economic impact of the health crisis.
According to the president, there are currently 127 “white” cities across the country and they can reopen mosques and gather for Friday prayers while observing health protocols set by the Health Ministry. 
Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour noted that there are more than 300 “white” regions.
The list of cities included in the “white” zone will be announced in the coming days. 



Lowest Fatalities in 46 Days 

Iran’s confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 90,000 on Sunday and the number of fatalities were at its lowest in 46 days, Jahanpour said.
The health official reported 90,481 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 1,153 from its previous count. The 60 overnight deaths brought the national total to 5,710.
Jahanpour also said, “Nearly 70,000 have recovered from the infectious disease and 3,000 remain in critical condition.
Iran has carried out 421,313 coronavirus tests since the outbreak was first identified in the central city of Qom.
In his Sunday briefing on the widespread outbreak, Rouhani said the government will introduce more restrictions for urban transport.
“The one-meter distance between individuals is not observed during rush hours. Therefore, we will emphasize the use of facemasks and gloves,” he added.
The Health Ministry is to announce when the compulsory use of masks and gloves in subways and on buses will come into effect.
The government also adjusted its restrictions on working hours for malls, allowing stores in regions with hot climates to be open until 8 p.m. as such areas usually do not open stores before 4 p.m. due to the warm weather.
Other regions can allow malls to remain open from morning to 6 p.m., as before.
On the strong backlash against the reopening of parks and recreational areas, Jahanpour said, “Gatherings in parks are still banned. The parks have only opened for the exercise of individuals.”
Law enforcement officers have been instructed to detain violators.
The worldwide coronavirus death toll has exceeded the 200,000 threshold and infections have neared 3 million.

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