Tehran | Five of Iran’s largest cities will be partially cordoned off for three days, Tehran authorities said on Thursday amid new records linked to the COVID-19 epidemic in the country.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
According to figures from the Ministry of Health, Iran broke two new records on Wednesday with 279 daily deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and 4,830 new infections in 24 hours.
From midnight, it will be forbidden to enter or leave in an individual vehicle from Tehran and Karaj (about fifty kilometers from the capital) as well as from Mashhad (North-East), Isfahan (Center) and Ourmia (North-West) ) until Sunday noon, said the director of public relations at the Ministry of Health, Kianouche Jahanpour, on the eve of a three-day weekend.
The ban – intended to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the Middle Eastern country most affected by the pandemic – does not apply to “public transport” such as buses, taxis or planes, Mr. Jahanpour, in statements on state television.
The weekend falls on Thursdays and Fridays in Iran, and Saturday is a public holiday.
“We find that a large part of the population, for all kinds of reasons, is not behaving responsibly,” Jahanpour said.
Long weekends traditionally give rise to many departures on the roads, especially from Tehran.
Since the announcement of the first contaminations in February, the epidemic has killed 29,349 people out of a total of 513,219 confirmed cases, according to official figures.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi nevertheless said on Wednesday that these figures were much lower than reality, perhaps half or even more, given the protocols adopted for the statistics.
In Tehran, a city of some 9 million inhabitants and a major epidemiological focus, many public places have been closed since October 3.
Since Saturday, wearing a mask is mandatory for anyone leaving their home, and failure to comply with this instruction exposes offenders to a fine.