Coronavirus-hit Iran to make masks compulsory from next week

Coronavirus-hit Iran to make masks compulsory from next week
Mask-wearing would be “obligatory in covered spaces where there are gatherings,” the Iranian leadership said. (WANA via Reuters)
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Updated 28 June 2020

Coronavirus-hit Iran to make masks compulsory from next week

Coronavirus-hit Iran to make masks compulsory from next week
  • Islamic republic has desisted from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Death toll has crossed 10,000 and the number of infected reached more than 220,000

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that mask-wearing will be mandatory in certain areas as of next week and gave virus-hit provinces the green light to reimpose restrictive measures.
The Islamic republic has refrained from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease, and the use of masks and protective equipment has been optional in most areas.
Mask-wearing would be “obligatory in covered spaces where there are gatherings,” Rouhani said during a televised meeting of the country’s anti-virus taskforce.
The measure would come into force as of next week, continue until July 22 and would be extended if necessary, he said.
Rouhani said the health ministry had devised “a clear list” of the types of spaces and gatherings deemed high-risk, but he did not elaborate.
He also did not say what the penalty would be for those who fail to observe the measure.
According to deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi, “services will not be given” to those without masks in areas such as “government organizations and shopping malls.”
Iran reported its first COVID-19 cases on February 19 and it has since struggled to contain the outbreak as the death toll has crossed 10,000 and the number of infected reached more than 220,000.
Official figures have shown a rising trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.
The increasing caseload has seen some previously unscathed provinces classified as “red” — the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale — with authorities allowing them to reimpose restrictive measures if required.
According to Rouhani, the measure would be also extended to provinces with “red” counties.
“Any county that is red, its provincial (virus) committee can propose reimposing limitations for a week,” which could be extended if needed, he said.
The health ministry launched an “#I wear a mask” campaign on Saturday and pleaded with Iranians to observe guidelines aimed at curbing infections.
One Iranian is infected with COVID-19 every 33 seconds and one dies from the disease every 13 minutes, Harirchi said on Saturday.


Oman to close land borders again to curb coronavirus

Oman to close land borders again to curb coronavirus
Updated 1 min 29 sec ago

Oman to close land borders again to curb coronavirus

Oman to close land borders again to curb coronavirus

DUBAI: Oman will close its land borders for one week from Monday to curb the spread of the coronavirus, especially a more contagious variant, state news agency ONA said on Sunday.
The measure will come into effect from 6 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Monday and can be extended for longer than the initial one week closure, ONA said, citing a decision by the Gulf state’s coronavirus emergency committee.
The committee is concerned about a new coronavirus variant — although it didn’t specify which one — as well as lax adherence inside the sultanate with the wearing of face masks and avoidance of large social gatherings.
Oman earlier this month registered its first case of the variant of the virus that emerged in Britain, in a resident who arrived from the UK.
It reopened its land, air and sea borders on Dec. 29 after a one-week shutdown over the new variant.
Neighbouring United Arab Emirates has seen a surge in daily infections to above 3,000 while the other five Gulf states, including Oman, have seen daily cases drop below 500. The UAE on Sunday reported 3,453 new infections taking its total to 225,374.
Oman had registered a total of 13,1790 cases and 1,512 deaths as of Sunday.
It has rolled out an immunization campaign using the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for its population of roughly 4.2 million, with a first phase prioritising exposed health care workers, people over 65 years of age and those with chronic diseases.
The health minister, receiving his second jab on Sunday, said Oman had so far received around 38,900 doses.
The health ministry has said that 24,204 people have received their first dose and that administration of second doses would start on Sunday.