Iran President Hassan Rouhani meets officials in Tehran, July 11, 2020
UPDATE, JULY 12:
Despite Iran’s record surge in Coronavirus deaths, President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the renewal of restrictions on businesses.
The Health Ministry announced another 188 deaths on Saturday, taking the total to 12,635. Confirmed cases rose by 2,397 to 255,117.
On Thursday, Iran set its all-time daily high with 221 fatalities in 24 hours. Nine of Iran’s 31 provinces are “red zones”, and 10 others, including the capital Tehran, are in “dangerous conditions”.
An advisor to Iran’s Coronavirus Task Force warned that, if appropriate measures are not taken, between 50,000 and 60,000 Iranians could die.
Hossein Qenaati said, “The second wave, which will occur in the fall, will be much more deadly.”
However, amid economic crisis, Rouhani maintained the lifting of restrictions, which began on April 11, on shops, mosques, restaurants, universities, and other public spaces.
The easiest option is to shut down everything. But then people will pour into the streets because of hunger and unemployment….
Coronaphobia is as dangerous as not paying attention to it.
In a televised speech, the President did bar large gatherings at weddings and funerals: “We must ban ceremonies and gatherings all over the country, whether it be wakes, weddings or parties. Now is not the time for festivals or seminars,”
Police in Tehran subsequently announced the closure of all marriage and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 11: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has claimed an “improvement” in the Coronavirus crisis in some provinces — as the Health Ministry announces a record daily death toll.
On Thursday, the Ministry said 221 Iranians had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official total to 12,305. Confirmed cases rose by 2,079 to 250,458.
Another 142 deaths and 2,262 cases were announced on Friday.
But Rouhani, receiving a report from Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Saturday, claimed an improvement which “shows the very important role of the people in fighting Coronavirus due to following the instructions and taking their warnings seriously”.
His words were undercut on Friday by Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.
Announcing the latest fatalities and infections, including 3,319 patients in critical condition, she said 9 of Iran’s 31 provinces are still “red zones”.
She added ten other provinces, including that of the capital Tehran, are in “dangerous conditions” and urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and participation in weddings or funerals.
Iran was an epicenter of the initial Coronavirus outbreak in February, although the Supreme Leader and the Government, fearing the effect on turnout in Parliamentary elections, claimed that news about the virus was a “Western plot”.
The official number of cases fell to 803 on May 2, but soon spiked after the Government — facing Iran’s economic crisis — began rolling back restrictions on businesses, restaurant, mosques, and other public spaces from April 11.
Medics, activists, and some Iranian officials say the actual number of cases and deaths is far higher. A Parliamentary report in April claimed that the figure was at least double that given by the Health Ministry.