Prepare for the worst, Iranians are warned as virus kills 81 in one day

Iranians wear protective face masks as they travel on the metro in Tehran on May 20, 2020. (West Asia News Agency/Ali Khara via REUTERS)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Prepare for the worst, Iranians are warned as virus kills 81 in one day

  • New fatalities raise the death toll in Iran to 7,878
  • The Islamic republic has a total of 154,445 infections

JEDDAH: Iranians were warned on Monday to expect a second and more lethal wave of the coronavirus after the regime reported nearly 3,000 new cases and 81 deaths in a single day.

“The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki said.

“If our people fail to respect the health protocols ... we must prepare ourselves for the worst situation.”

Iran reported a total of 154,445 infections on Monday, an increase of 2,979 from the previous day. The 81 new deaths took the total to 7,878.

Analysts both inside and outside the country have voiced skepticism about the official figures, and say the real toll is much higher.

Iran was slow to react to the original outbreak, and is now one of the worst-hit countries in the region. Clerics encouraged pilgrims to visit shrines in Qom and Mashad even when it was clear that they were hotbeds of the coronavirus, as a result of which it spread to Lebanon and Iraq.

Authorities began easing restrictions on movement in April after a drop in deaths, but there was a surge in infections in May and authorities had to reimpose restrictions in the southern provinces of Khuzestan and Baluchistan.

Nevertheless, government employees went back to work and mosques resumed daily prayers on Saturday as part of the relaxation of the lockdown.

Health officials have repeatedly raised the alarm for Khuzestan province on Iran’s southwestern border with Iraq. It remains “red,” the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale, and is the only province where the regime has reimposed a lockdown.

“We pleaded with the people to not hold weddings or funerals but they did not listen,” Namaki said. “If this continues, deaths can reach three digits again.

In Saudi Arabia, health chiefs reported 22 deaths related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), raising the total to 525.

The Health Ministry said there were 1,881 new cases of the disease on Monday, bringing the total to 87,142, of which 22,311 are active cases. The ministry said 1,864 patients had recently recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 64,306. Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 838,623 tests for the virus.

Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 6.3 million people and killed nearly 375,000.


Jordan's increase in coronavirus cases 'worrying', government says

Updated 32 min 45 sec ago

Jordan's increase in coronavirus cases 'worrying', government says

CAIRO: Jordan’s increase in coronavirus cases is “worrying,” however the situation remains under control, the Kingdom’s government said Thursday.
Minister of State for Media affairs Amjad Al-Adaileh called on Jordanians to avoid gatherings of more than 20 people.
He specifically addressed parents of high school students, who are waiting for exam results next Saturday, the state news agency PETRA reported.
Al-Adaileh said those who violate instructions on gatherings in a step to avoid the spread of the virus.
“Do not let your celebrations over school results turn into a setback on the epidemic level,” he said. 
Al-Adaileh said Jordanians are capable in two weeks, if they adhere to social distancing regulations, of restoring control over the spread of the disease and return local infection rates back to low levels. 
Jordan has overall seen a drop in COVID-19 cases, with new infections recorded mainly among travelers arriving from abroad.
However, the Kingdom registered 25 cases of COVID-19 in the past two days, mostly at the Jaber crossing with Syria. This prompted Jordan to close its border with Syria for a week starting Thursday. 
Al-Adaileh said no decision has been made yet on reimposing a curfew. He added that no Jordan official wishes to return to the lockdown, which had an serious impact on the country economically, socially and emotionally.