Khuzestan curbs return as Covid-19 cases climb

Financial Tribune – The resurgence of the novel coronavirus in southwest Iran has forced authorities to reintroduce stringent measures, warning that other regions could follow if social distancing rules are ignored.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi told reporters on Monday that what is happening in Khuzestan Province, where several counties are under lockdown and workplaces have closed, could recur in any other region, ISNA reported.

Health Ministry’s Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour urged the people to comply with social distancing measures and pointed to the dire circumstances in Khuzestan Province as a warning against public complacency.

He added, “Tehran Province is also not in a good condition compared to other regions.”

In his daily briefing on the fight against the deadly virus, Jahanpour said, “The daily Covid-19 cases reported in Iran spiked by 21.6% on Monday, adding 1,683 to the tally of cases that have taken the national total to 109,286.”

The Health Ministry registered 45 overnight deaths, the lowest in over two months, bringing the death toll to 6,685.

Jahanpour said Iran has carried out over 600,000 coronavirus tests to detect and isolate patients diagnosed with the viral infection.

Out of more than 109,000 cases, 87,422 have recovered and 2,700 are in critical condition.

The health official added, “More than 70% of the daily cases reported today displayed only mild symptoms or were in contact with a Covid-19 patient.”

Public Response to Smart Distancing

Average public compliance with smart distancing measures stands at 82%, Raeisi announced.

Iran’s replacement of strict quarantines was dubbed Smart Distancing Initiative that allowed most businesses to resume operations, if they committed to abide by protocols devised by the Health Ministry.

After a month, the government’s inspection agencies have collected data from across the country, which shows that excluding Tehran, 82% of the general public and businesses have complied with the ministry’s protocols.

The central parts of Iran ranked first in observing the protective measures with a 92% rate, followed by eastern provinces (80%), northern regions (77%), western regions (76%) and southern Iran (67%).

Raeisi noted that Tehran Province defied regulations more than any other region in the country with 62% compliance.

“Only 40% of businesses in Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan, observed the health protocols,” the deputy health minister said.

Iran will slowly open up beauty salons, restaurants, mosques and all holy sites after the end of Ramadan on May 24, according to Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei.

Worldwide infections exceeded 4.2 million on Monday and the death toll reached 285,000.