During a meeting with the committee formed to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the country, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talked about the problems Iranians will continue to face due to the pandemic.
“We can neither cut out all activity nor can we behave as we did in the past,” Rouhani said. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he said, Iranians were warned that they must change their social lives. But not everyone paid heed to this advice, and Iran is suffering for it now. In comparison, some European countries have fined people for having dinner parties, Rouhani added. He urged Iranians not to travel. If they must travel, Rouhani urged them to cut their trips short and follow all health guidelines. He also urged Iranians to not have weddings or other celebrations, even though the country is moving ahead with the Muharram religious holiday ceremonies.
Without offering specific evidence of the data, Rouhani said daily deaths dropped to below triple digits when 88% of Iranians were following health guidelines. But that led to the perception that the virus was over, and adherence to health guidelines then dropped to below 17%. Now, the country is once again experiencing daily deaths in the triple digits.
Rouhani also said it would have been better from the outset of the virus to explain to people that this would be a long-term issue. “Maybe in the first days we should have told people not to consider this in a manner of weeks; the criteria are rather in months and years, not days or weeks,” he added. Rouhani said Iran would be dealing with this virus at least for another six months to even a year, warning that this crisis will remain until there is a vaccine and, even after a vaccine is discovered, there remains the issue of producing and distributing it.
In the last 24 hours, there have been 189 deaths due to the coronavirus in Iran. For six days in a row, Iran’s daily deaths have been below 200. Twenty-five of Iran’s 31 provinces are currently under a warning or red zone status, meaning the provinces have to take extra precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus. Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari also said statistics from other individuals who interview with Iranian television are not to be taken seriously if those individuals do not work with the Health Ministry or the headquarters for combatting the virus. She said the Health Ministry is not a political organization, and they have been reporting accurate numbers since before the parliamentary elections.
Iran’s medical workers have been hit particularly hard. In Mashhad University, four of the eight infectious disease specialists have been infected with the virus. According to medical institutions that represent medical workers, 140 medical workers have died from the virus across the country since the outbreak.