Rouhani Says Low-Risk Economic Activities to Resume in Iran from April 11 amid Coronavirus
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday "low-risk" economic activities would resume from April 11 in the country worst-affected by the new coronavirus in the region.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease known as COVID-19 but authorities are also concerned that measures to limit public life to contain the virus could wreck an already sanctions-battered economy.
The death toll in Iran from the outbreak has reached 3,603, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement broadcast live on state TV on Sunday.
One hundred and fifty-one people have died in the past 24 hours, he said. Iran now has a total of 58,226 infections.
"Under the supervision of the health ministry, all those low-risk economic activities will resume from Saturday," Rouhani said in a televised meeting, adding that "those activities will resume in Tehran from April 18".
"Two thirds of all Iranian government employees will work out of the office from Saturday...The decision does not contradict stay at home advice by the health authorities."
Rouhani did not spell what he meant by low-risk activity, but said the suspension of "high-risk activities" - schools, universities and various social, cultural, sports and religious events would be extended to April 18.
Iranian officials have repeatedly complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the New Year holidays that began on March 20.
Health authorities have since warned of a new wave of coronavirus infections in Iran. Rouhani's government has refrained from imposing a lockdown on cities but prohibited intercity travel until April 8.
Rouhani said this ban would now be extended until April 18.