Last month’s coronavirus-related protocols introduced in 89 counties across Iran have significantly reduced transmission rates, President Hassan Rouhani said, boosting optimism over the effect of stricter measures imposed since last week, as the daily toll of deaths fell below 400 on Saturday for the first time in nearly a month.
Pointing to safety measures imposed since late October, Rouhani said at the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s meeting, “It was evident from today’s statistics that the restrictions have been extremely effective,” President.ir reported.
“We are seeing hopeful signs in the 150 cities subjected to stringent protocols since last week. We’re confident we’ll see more improvements by the end of the week,” he added.
Since last month, Rouhani’s administration has ramped up efforts to contain the deadly outbreak, beginning by shutting down most non-essential businesses in 89 counties and intensifying the measures since last week by closing all non-essential businesses in 150 cities and counties, placing curfews in worst-hit regions, curbing travel and requiring the presence of fewer employees in government offices.
Alireza Raeisi, the coronavirus taskforce’s spokesperson, further detailed the impact of mitigation guidelines, “Out of 160 red counties and towns, roughly 145 are seeing fewer coronavirus cases.”
The health official estimated that the downward trend will start in the 15 remaining cities over this week.
“Among the 89 initial counties, all except two have changed status from red to orange and yellow,” he added.
Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said overnight fatalities dropped to a one-month low of 391 on Saturday, pushing the national tally to over 47,480.
No Services for Covid Patients
To encourage self-isolation rules, the National Coronavirus Taskforce approved a proposal on Saturday that makes carrying identity documents mandatory when using public transit and entering government offices so that confirmed Covid-19 patients breaching self-quarantine can be identified.
“Over the past four days, we have stopped 1,748 coronavirus positive patients from boarding planes, trains and buses,” Raeisi said.
The Health Ministry will give more organizations access to the list of infected individuals to break the chain of transmission by refusing services to them.
Certain authorities have called for tracing patients via mobile location data to penalize those who violate self-isolation rules. The proposal has not been implemented yet.
Lari pointed out that to slow the spread of the infection, the enforcement of restrictions should continue after two weeks.
“Some 13,400 were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Saturday, taking the national toll to 935,799,” she added.
The spokeswoman noted that the provinces of South Khorasan, Yazd and Semnan have the highest death rate among the 31 provinces throughout Iran. Currently, only Hormozgan, Fars, Golestan and Sistan-Baluchestan are not on red alert.
Over 648,000 have so far recovered from the respiratory disease and 5,865 are hospitalized in intensive care units, Lari said.
The total number of tests administered since the start of the pandemic crossed the six million mark on Saturday.
According to Rouhani, they will increase the testing capacity to 120,000 per day over the next few months.
Iran currently carries out over 40,000 daily diagnostic tests.
Global Covid-19 cases jumped to 62.1 million on Saturday and the number of fatalities caused by the contagion rose to 1.45 million.