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Iran may impose partial lockdown in 11 provinces to contain coronavirus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo shows President Hassan Rouhani attending a session of the National Headquarters for Fighting Coronavirus via videoconference in Tehran on March 14, 2020.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has given his initial approval for imposing a partial lockdown on areas in nearly a dozen provinces in the country to help curb a coronavirus outbreak that has affected thousands of people.

Rouhani described as “good” a proposal by Health Minister Saeed Namaki to implement a “movement control scheme” in 11 provinces across Iran, saying the measure could prove instrumental in containing the spread of coronavirus.

“We should be careful that points of control in the provinces should be accurately determined and that controlling teams act in a manner that would not cause traffic on the roads,” said Rouhani while attending a video briefing on latest efforts to contain the virus.

The president, however, said he was opposed to imposing fines on sick people travelling around, saying those people may not be aware of their complications.

Cash handouts to three million people

Authorities hope restrictions on movement could prevent a fresh peak in the number of infections in late March. That comes after government officials said people have been ignoring calls to stay home and stop travelling.

Rouhani’s administration on Thursday announced supportive measures for businesses and people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The president ordered cash handouts and loans covering millions of individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the spread of the infection.

The government said the measures, which will be organized in three supportive plans, will include cash handouts worth $13-40 to a total of three million people.

A total of 12,729 people have been tested positive for coronavirus since it started to break out in Iran on February 19. Some 4,339 patients have recovered from the disease while a total of 611 people have died, according to latest figures released by the health ministry on Saturday.

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