Iran calls for collective measure against coronavirus epidemic

FNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message on his Twitter account called for regional collaboration against the spread of coronavirus epidemic (labeled by the World Health Organization as COVID-19), reminding that the infection alike terrorism knows no border.

“Like other viruses – including terrorism – COVID-19 knows no borders and doesn’t distinguish between ethnicities or faiths,” Zarif wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

“To combat it, neither should we,” he added.

The virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It may also worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.

According to the World Health Organization, the epidemic has killed more than 2,600 people and infected more than 77,000 others in China. But the situation has worsened elsewhere with nearly 2,700 other cases and more than 40 deaths globally.

In Iran, the virus showed up in the north-central city of Qom, where it has claimed its most victims. In all, the spread has taken 15 lives across the country and infected as many as 95 others.

Iranian medical officials have assured that Iran would, in the near future, rein in the outbreak, noting that the condition of most of the patients diagnosed with the virus had improved.

According to a report from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, 95 people in the country have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Unfortunately, coronavirus has claimed the lives of 15 people in the country up to the present time, said Spokesperson of the Health Ministry Kianoush Jahanpour on Tuesday.

Head of the Iranian Health Ministry’s Center for Infectious Diseases Mohammad Mahdi Gouya had announced on Monday that medical centers across the country have performed around 1750 diagnostic tests for coronavirus in the last week.

“Since last Monday that we have been provided with diagnostic kits we have performed around 1750 tests for coronavirus,” Gouya declared, reassuring that with modern equipment and state of the art medications almost all patients diagnosed with the virus are getting improved.

Meanwhile, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami said on Monday that the IRGC is ready to help the Health Ministry in the national campaign against the epidemic.

Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said that border closures with some neighboring countries and travel restrictions imposed by some countries are temporary, and reassured that border gates and travel routes will get normalized after the situation grows stable.

The epicenter of the outbreak is the Central city of Qom and official reports have so far showed that the virus has been contained in the Central city. All those diagnosed with coronavirus infection in Iran are a citizen of Qom or have had a travel to the city.

As a preventive measure, Iranian authorities have ordered a week-long closure of educational and cultural institutions across over 10 provinces as of Tuesday.

These provinces include Qom, Markazi, Gilan, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Zanjan, Mazandaran, Golestan, Hamadan, Alborz, Semnan, Kordestan and the capital, Tehran.

Spokesman for Tehran’s Department of Education Masoud Saqafi said the decision was made to “prepare schools” which have to be disinfected and sanitized.

Tehran’s Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said Sunday that all the city’s public places, including the metro trains and buses, are being disinfected every night as part of attempts to contain the spread of the virus.

Head of Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz also said that pharmacies will no longer be allowed to sell protective masks and that masks will be distributed among the population via government-run centers free of charge, with the priority given to virus-hit provinces.

Iran’s Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Mansour Qolami called on all university deans to make every effort to maintain a calm atmosphere and adopt effective measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus has risen to 2,698 worldwide, with the vast majority of those in mainland China. The total number of global cases stands at over 80,000.

South Korea now has more than 890 coronavirus cases nationwide. Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy, where seven people have died and there are over 220 infections, with restrictions imposed on some municipalities. Iran has reported at least 60 cases and 12 deaths.

The coronavirus can cause various illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as pneumonia. Common signs of the infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and other breathing difficulties.

On Tuesday, Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali condemned some foreign media misinformation campaign on the outbreak of coronavirus in his country, saying that the media hype is aimed at instilling disappointment among the masses.

General Jalali said that under the current circumstances the enemy’s propaganda is mostly focused on accusing Iran’s healthcare system, inducing inefficiency and intimidating the Iranian people.

The official said that the containment and control of the coronavirus epidemic would make sense in two dimensions of field reality and public opinion, stated that fortunately, in recent days a national resolve and coordination at the highest level of management of the country has emerged resulting to containment of the coronavirus’s outbreak in the country.

Jalali explained the enemy’s propaganda campaign in the current situation is to accuse the healthcare system for lying, such as publishing false statistics on the situation of the patients, creating a statistical contradiction between the officials’ statements, and second, inducing inefficiencies in the country’s healthcare system, such as incorrect comparisons between the level of action by Iran and other countries, the magnification of deficiencies, the removal of positive and promising news, and, thirdly, the creation of public fear and panic in the nation’s medical staff by spreading inaccurate news, exaggerating the death toll, and the like.

“In line with HOPE, Iran calls for more regional cooperation including long overdue Joint Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” Zarif noted elsewhere in his tweet.

In an address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said as a steward of maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iran invites all countries that are affected by developments in the strategic region to join the country’s new regional peace initiative, dubbed Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE).

In October, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said that the current unstable situation in the Persian Gulf region is the outcome of Washington’s interventions in the region, reminding that Tehran is after the prosperity of the Middle East.

The current tense situation in the Persian Gulf region is affected by the US interventionist policies while the priority of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to realize security, stability and economic prosperity for the entire region, Araqchi said, in a meeting with Portuguese Foreign Ministry’s Director-General for Political Affairs Pedro Sanchez Da Costa Pereira.