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Iran announces strict anti-COVID measures as cases soar

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)
Photo shows women wearing masks while using the subway system in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Iran has imposed a full five-day lockdown starting August 16 to control a major surge in number of coronavirus infections.

The measure was adopted on Saturday by Iran’s National Headquarters for Battling Coronavirus as the body stressed the need for nationwide closures and travel bans to curb the Delta variant of the disease.

All forms of driving between cities and provinces will be banned except for essential travels that provide for basic needs of the public, said Alireza Raeisi, a spokesman of the headquarters.

Raeisi said that only trucks carrying essential goods like food and ambulances will be allowed to travel on the roads.

Businesses and government offices will shut down across the country, he said, adding that judicial and enforcement officials will consider hefty fines for those violating the bans.

Authorities in the capital Tehran said all roads leading to the city will be closed down during the five-day lockdown.

“We call on the honorable people of Tehran to respect the new law as we are determined to implement it,” said Tehran Governor Eisa Farhadi.

The strict measures come as Iran has seen a major increase in the daily number of coronavirus deaths and infections in recent days.

Health ministry figures announced on Saturday showed that death toll from the virus had reached 466 from a caseload of 29,700 reported over the past 24 hours.

The surge has been blamed on the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus which started to circulate in Iran last month.

Strict anti-coronavirus measures was announced a week after Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raeisi issued an ultimatum for a major change in the country’s methods of fighting the disease.

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