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Rouhani: Virus Emergency Could Last Through January

Rouhani: Virus Emergency Could Last Through January

Monday, 10 August, 2020 - 05:00
Iranian women wearing face masks ride a bus in the capital Tehran amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on August 9, 2020. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iran will remain in a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus until at least January, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.

"We have been in this situation for six months and we must prepare ourselves for another six months at least," Rouhani said, adding that this meant any complete easing of safety measures was not in the cards for now.

"We must find a middle way between normality and sticking to the virus restrictions," he said in remarks published on his website that appeared to justify those measures he has taken to date to ease the country's response to the virus.

The easing of restrictions during the past two months has led people in Iran to pay less attention to the pandemic and the health regulations, dpa reported.

It has also led to criticism of the president, as there has been a surge in case numbers, with some 200 deaths a day.

Overall, Iran has reported a death toll of more than 18,000 and more than 320,000 infections.

The number of deaths has fallen slightly in recent days, however. Experts attribute this to people wearing masks and maintaining social-distancing.

The Health Ministry has said this is no reason for complacency.

"Our minimum goal in the short term should continue to be to bring the death toll down to the double digits, said Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi in remarks to Isna news agency on Sunday.

The police are now able to fine people for failing to follow health rules, mainly those refusing to wear masks.

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