UPDATE, DEC 19:
Iran’s daily Coronavirus deaths are at their lowest point since early October.
Beset by weeks with record death and case totals, the Islamic Republic recorded 178 deaths on Friday, taking the official total to 53,273.
On October 6, the Health Ministry announced 204 deaths. After that, the rate spiked to close to 500, forcing the Government into imposing restrictions in mid-November, such as curfews and closures of businesses and other public spaces.
However, cases are still almost 80% higher than in early October. There were 7,121 on Friday, compared to a then-record 4,000.
The official total is 1,145,651, with 5,627 patients in critical condition.
Addressing the National Coronavirus Task Force, President Hassan Rouhani hailed success in a “third wave”. He said that where 160 cities were classifed as “red zones” in mid-November, none have that status today.
However, he cautioned that Iranians should not gather for the Yalda holiday celebrations this weekend to “back nurses” and “protect the elderly”.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, DEC 13: President Hassan Rouhani has hailed a decrease in Iran’s Coronavirus deaths and cases, which had tripled and quadrupled to record levels.
Rouhani told the National Coronavirus Task Force on Saturday that there are only 12 “red zone” cities in Iran, compared to more than 150 when restrictions were imposed last month.
Iran’s toll surged this autumn, as the Government refused to close public spaces amid the country’s economic crisis. Infections almost quadrupled and deaths rose by 150% from early October, reaching daily records of 14,051 cases on November 27 and 483 deaths on November 24.
Cities such as the capital Tehran implemented measures, and Rouhani finally acted in mid-November with an eight-point plan shutting businesses and other public areas and restricting travel to work in “red zones”.
The Health Ministry announced 9,594 new cases and 232 deaths on Friday, and 221 deaths and 8,201 infections on Saturday.
The official total is now 51,949 deaths and 1,100,818 cases.
Last weekend The Government moved the capital Tehran into the “orange zone”, allowing the reopening of some businesses. Half of employees, compared to one-third in red zones, can commute to work.
Rouhani called on Saturday for continued vigilance and adherence to measures:
Whenever we feel that the problem is over and there is no problem or danger and we have put coronavirus behind us, immediately in the following weeks, we see another peak of the disease and after that, the death rate starts to increase.
He sniped at perceived foes inside and outside the country, “Many wanted to disrupt this by spreading frustration, disappointment and doubt among people, but they did not succeed.”