Iran faces lockdown as virus cases soar

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday authorized the country’s provinces to impose lockdowns wherever necessary to stem a rapid rise in coronavirus cases. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 September 2020

Iran faces lockdown as virus cases soar

  • Measures could include “restrictions or shutdowns” of schools, universities, seminaries, mosques and cafeterias
  • Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 172 on Saturday to 25,394

JEDDAH/TEHRAN: Iran faced a province-by-province national lockdown on Saturday as coronavirus infections threatened to spiral out of control.

“We are forced to intensify regulations and supervisions, starting in the capital Tehran,” President Hassan Rouhani said.

Government-run coronavirus task-force offices around the country will make recommendations on restrictions and whether to impose one-week lockdowns. Measures could include “restrictions or shutdowns” of schools, universities, seminaries, mosques, cafeterias, sports and cultural venues, and hair salons.

“If provincial governors deem it necessary, these centers will have to close for a week,” Rouhani said.

Iran’s official death toll from COVID-19 rose by 172 to 25,394 on Saturday, with 443,086 confirmed cases. Tehran was slow to respond to the initial outbreak, and independent analysts both inside and outside the country believe the real number of cases is far higher than official figures suggest.

Health chiefs have expressed alarm over the surge in infections, and urged Iranians to respect health protocols to control the spread of the disease.

Iran has now recorded 301 deaths per million population, compared with 133 per million in Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi Arabia reported 461 new cases on Saturday, raising the total to 332,790, and the death toll rose by 30 to 5,655. More than 300,000 patients in Saudi Arabia have recovered from COVID-19.

(With Reuters)


Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

Updated 4 min 11 sec ago

Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

  • NOC said it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day within two weeks
BENGHAZI: Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) said on Monday it had lifted force majeure on the El-Feel oilfield and that by doing so it had ended all the closures of oilfields and ports that resulted from an eight-month blockade by eastern forces.
NOC said on Friday it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) within two weeks and 1 million bpd within four weeks after lifting force majeure on the ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.
The blockade was imposed in January by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and ended in September when he agreed to reopen oil facilities after talks with members of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
NOC has been gradually lifting force majeure in facilities where fighters no longer remained and restarting production in them.
On Sunday a first tanker in eight months docked at Al-Zawiya port and began loading, an engineer there said, after force majeure was lifted last week on Sharara, Libya’s biggest oilfield.
Al-Waha Oil Co, an NOC company, also said on Sunday a first tanker was bound for Es Sider and may dock there early on Tuesday.
Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract, in this case NOC, from meeting its obligations.