US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — On Friday, the Iranian authorities ordered the closure of streets and shops in Iran and announced that citizens would be subject to “censorship”, as part of measures to curb the spread of the emerging coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 500 people in Iran.
The head of the General Staff of the Iranian armed forces, Mohammad Hussain Bagheri, told state television that the security forces “will start to evacuate shops, streets and roads, according to a decision taken at the national level and to be implemented within the next 24 hours.”
“During the next ten days, all Iranians will be monitored via cyberspace, telephones and, if necessary, in person. All suspects will be identified,” he said.
Since the first deaths from the virus were announced in February, Iranian authorities have closed schools, postponed events and recommended not to travel, before the start of the Persian New Year holiday that falls between 19 March and 3 April.
Despite these measures, the official death toll and injury have risen dramatically.
On Thursday, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the armed forces to lead the fight against the emerging Corona virus by intensifying their efforts.
– “On the right side of history” –
On Friday, the Islamic Republic announced 85 new deaths from the virus, the highest daily toll since the first deaths were announced on February 19.
“Throughout the country, at least 1,289 new infections have been registered,” said Ministry of Health spokesman Kyanosh Jahanpur.
With 514 deaths out of 11,364 confirmed cases in Iran, Iran is among the countries worst hit after China and Italy.
Several current and former government and government officials have contracted the virus, and some have died.
On Thursday, the authorities announced that the chief adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati was placed in stone after he showed “mild symptoms” of the emerging corona virus.
Iran said on Thursday that it had requested assistance from the International Monetary Fund, as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the agency in a tweet to “stand on the right side of history.”
– “Do more” –
In a message to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Zarif also called for an end to US sanctions that “undermine our efforts to address the Covid-19 epidemic in Iran.”
Since its unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 from the nuclear agreement, the United States has adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran with the aim of crippling the government’s financial resources, especially by re-imposing tough economic sanctions.
In theory, drugs and medical equipment are not subject to Washington’s sanctions, but in reality these materials face an American embargo, with international banks generally rejecting financial dealings that include Iran for fear of an American response.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization welcomed Iran’s efforts to contain the disease, after a five-day mission to a WHO delegation that included public health experts.
“We consider Iran’s strategies and priorities to control Coved-19 going in the right direction,” WHO’s Regional Director of Emergency Richard Brennan announced Thursday. “But more needs to be done.”
“We have agreed on priority areas that should be taken to the next level with the help of health authorities, and based on experiences in China and abroad,” the official said.
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.