Iranian President Urges Coronavirus Caution During Eid al-Adha
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged people on Saturday to observe health protocols and practice social distancing during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, due to start at the end of the month.
“Let glorious festivities be held in mosques and religious centers by observing health protocols and social distancing,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.
“Let [face] masks this year be part of the glorious mourning of Muharram,” Rouhani said, referring to Ashura, a Shiite religious commemoration. The event marks the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram, when according to Islamic tradition Imam Hussein was killed in battle in 680.
One of the Eid al-Adha rituals is the sacrificial slaughter of sheep and giving to the poor. Iranian health officials have urged the faithful to package the meat before distribution.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, speaking on state television, urged people not to visit the northeastern city of Mashad, which he said has seen an increase of 300% in coronavirus cases over a one-month period.
Iran’s total tally of coronavirus cases hit 288,839 on Saturday, with 15,485 deaths, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on television.
The country gradually lifted its COVID-19 restrictions from mid-April, but they have been reimposed in most areas after a sharp spike in cases. On Saturday, officials in the capital Tehran extended restrictions by another week.