Rouhani: Smart social distancing plan to coninue

TEHRAN (Agencies): Iranian Pres-ident Hassan Rouhani has said that the country seeks to follow up on its existing physical distancing plan with a new ‘smart distancing’ initiative to curb the outbreak of COVID-19.

Speaking during a meeting in the National Headquarters to Fight the Coronavirus on Saturday, Rouhani said that the first and second phases of the country’s physical distancing plan had attained “good achievements”.

“Currently, we are in the third phase which consists of smart distancing; its specifications have to be laid out,” he said.

Iran has set out specific guidelines restricting certain occupations and transit in and between cities as part of the physical distancing initiative to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking on Saturday, Rouhani urged different committees within the anti-coronavirus headquarters to conduct precise evaluations of the physical distancing initiative’s results for further planning.

“Various protocols have to be meticulously designed for different occupations and fields for the reopening period after becoming certain that the management of the coronavirus has reached a stable state,” he said.

“Medical protocols have to be designed in a way so that the public can be largely assured of its health and safety by adhering to them outside the house and at work,” he added. ‘Iran’s strategy fighting both sanctions and coronavirus’

Speaking to reporters in a videoconference on Saturday, Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said that “smart distancing” was based on a number of principles.

“One principle is that we are fighting both the coronavirus and sanctions; therefore economic issues have to be considered in the smart distancing strategy,” he said. The deputy health minister added that another principle of the plan was the gradual reopening of certain occupations under constant evaluation.

He added that another component of the initiative was the exemption of vulnerable groups from participating in the reopening stage of jobs and occupations.

Harirchi added that Tehran eyed two main goals in its strategy against the coronavirus: “reducing the disease’s death rate and contagion and secondly reducing the social and economic effects of the outbreak”.

“Our country is fighting on two fronts – the coronavirus and criminal sanctions – and therefore we need to achieve a balance between both of these goals,” he said.

The deputy health minister also lauded the general public for cooperating with existing social distancing guidelines despite the Persian New Year, which took place last month.

Harirchi, however, expressed concern about a spike in transit within the capital city of Tehran on Saturday.

“These people may spread the disease to their homes or workplaces,” he said. “The moderate presence of the disease in Tehran can cause its spread due to the importance of the Tehran Province,” he added.

Ministry: 158 new fatalities Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed to 3,452 on Saturday, with 158 more fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur said.

The total number of cases diagnosed with the disease reached 55,743, of whom 4,103 are in critical condition, he said. “Fortunately, 19,736 patients have recovered and been discharged so far,” he added.