Iran says public too lax over COVID-19 rules

Iranians wear face masks as a Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic precaution, in Iran's capital Tehran on October 19, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 28 October 2020

Iran says public too lax over COVID-19 rules

  • Non-essential businesses have been shut in Tehran and dozens of other cities

DUBAI: Iranians are being too lax in complying with COVID-19 restrictions, the government said on Tuesday, as the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country faced new daily records of infections and deaths.

A record daily death toll of 346 pushed the total toll to 33,299, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state media. New cases set a record of 6,968, bringing the total to 581,824 in a third big wave of infections this year.

“According to the latest figures, the rate of compliance with health protocols is 57.7 percent, which is very low. We need to raise compliance during this epidemic ... More than ever, we need national strength and empathy,” said Lari, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.

The authorities have ordered residents in Tehran to wear masks in public. Many public sector workers in the capital have been told to stay home every second day.

Non-essential businesses have been shut in Tehran and dozens of other cities. Schools, theaters and museums have been shut and social, cultural and religious events canceled for at least a week, with authorities saying the measures could be extended.

Alireza Zali, head of the Tehran coronavirus taskforce, suggested police could be tougher on those who flout the rules.

“We are going through bitter coronavirus days in the capital and we should expect to see strict measures on (enforcing compliance with) health protocols,” Zali told a gathering of police officials, according to IRNA.

“In the latest opinion poll we had, citizens asked us to deal decisively with offenders.”


Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

Updated 28 November 2020

Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

  • At the end of talks, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions”
  • They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible”

TANGIER: More than 120 Libyan deputies pledged Saturday in Morocco to “end the divisions” that undermine their country, starting by convening the elected parliament as soon as they return home.
The House of Representatives has not met for two years, and Libya has been wracked by violence and chaos since the toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Two rival administrations have been vying for control of the country — the Government of National Accord and an eastern administration backed by part of the elected parliament.
The latter is deeply divided, with sessions taking place in parallel in the east and west.
At the end of five days of talks in Tangier, Morocco, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged on Saturday to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions” that undermine Libyan institutions.
They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible,” and that all members of the House of Representatives would meet in session “as soon as they return” to Libya.
The session will take place in Ghadames, a desert oasis near Libya’s borders with both Algeria and Tunisia.
Ghadames is considered to be far from the centers of power.
“Having 123 deputies at the same table is in itself a success,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said.
“Libya needs a House of Representatives that plays its role... The next meeting in Libya will have a great impact on political dialogue,” he said.
The talks come at a time of increasing moves to break the deadlock in the country, which has Africa’s biggest oil reserves.
In mid-November, a UN-sponsored political dialogue forum in Tunis agreed to hold elections on December 24, 2021, but not on who will lead the transition.