Iran closes mosques, schools to halt fresh wave of coronavirus

Mosques, schools, universities, beauty salons, cafes, gyms, museums, theaters and swimming pools in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces were ordered to close for 10 days from next Wednesday in a bid to halt a surge in the number of coronavirus infections and related deaths.

In Tehran, the closure of beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs has been extended for a week. 

As per a report by Reuters, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions from next week in the 25 provinces and 89 counties will include include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.

Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and any found to be breaking health rules will be shut down. Weddings, funeral gatherings and conferences in the capital have been banned.

Authorities have blamed a sharp increase in coronavirus cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and President Hassan Rouhani said an operations headquarters would be set up to ensure compliance.

Iran was slow to respond to the pandemic when the first cases emerged there in February, and is now the worst-affected country in the Middle East. It recorded several recent daily fatality and infection highs, with figures on the rise since September.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Saturday there had been 7,820 new cases in the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 612,772, and the death toll rose by 386 to 34,864. (Agency inputs)

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