Minister: Iran on brink of containing virus in most provinces
Health Minister Saeid Namaki said that Iran is on the brink of containing the COVID-19 outbreak in most of the country’s provinces.
In a written statement published on Friday, Namaki said that Iran has been able to curb the outbreak using its own “successful model” despite lacking the financial and material support enjoyed by other countries.
“Despite circumstances arising of sanctions and economic warfare, no patient was left abandoned behind hospital doors and no patient lacked needed drugs and medical care during the peak of the virus across cities,” he added.
The health minister said that Iran’s virus response was developed on scientific models and years of past experience “eradicating infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, polio, measles, mumps and tetanus”.
Namaki added that Iran was seeking to gradually reopen businesses as part of “smart distancing” program to reduce the economic impacts of US sanctions, and restrictive measures adopted to slow the virus spread.
He noted that if the ministry concludes that the reopening of businesses is resulting in “any negative impact on managing the disease, we will swiftly demand a reimposition of restrictions“.
Deaths remain in double digits
Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Friday 89 more people have died from the novel coronavirus, as the country's official fatalities remained in double figures for a fourth day.
Jahanpour told a news conference that the latest deaths brought the overall toll to 4,958.
It was the sixth day that the official fatality rate has dropped in the Middle East's worst-hit country.
Jahanpour added that 1,499 new infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 79,494 from 319,879 tests.
Of those confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus and admitted to hospital, 54,064 had been discharged after recovering.
Another 3,563 were in critical condition.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani has struggled to contain the outbreak and keep Iran's fragile and sanctions-hit economy runningsince the country reported its first deaths two months ago.
It shut schools and universities, postponed major events and imposed a range of other restrictions, but it has stopped short of ordering lockdowns.
Iran is to allow small businesses in Tehran to reopen on Saturday, following similar measures for those outside the capital last week.
Press TV and AFP contributed to this story.