Tehran, June 14 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the government will restore the strict COVID-19 restrictions if it was forced to do so for the sake of the people's safety.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani expressed satisfaction that many provinces have successfully fought the pandemic and were experiencing a decline in the number of infections after the country reached the peak, Xinhua news agency reported.
In those regions, the situation is no longer in an emergency state, he said, adding that however, concerns have recently raised over people breaching health protocols in a few provinces.
In April and May, “people cooperated better in implementing health guidelines and we witnessed a proper situation”, but since the earlier days of June the “observance level decreased from about 80 to 20 per cent. It could be worrisome”, Rouhani noted.
Iran reported its first COVID-19 cases on February 19, after which it introduced lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures to rein in the pandemic.
Over the past month, Iran started to gradually ease certain restrictions and reopened businesses and public places.
“All these re-openings are conditional… If we are forced, we will restore the restrictions,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.
“If a peak returns to a province, we have to restore the restrictions. If the heatlh of the people in a city or a province is endangered, we have no option but to restore the restrictions. If we want the restrictions to reduce, we must observe all principles.”
Some of the Iranian health officials have also attributed the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 infections to an increase in the number of laboratory tests and tracing factors.
On Saturday, Iran reported 2,410 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the country to 184,955, official IRNA news agency reported.
Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said that 71 more died overnight, taking the death toll to 8,730.
So far, 146,748 have recovered and 2,755 remain in critical condition, added Lari.
A total of 1,219,400 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran as of Saturday, according to the spokeswoman.