Facemasks to Become Mandatory Outdoors Amid Rising Infections

(Saturday, June 27, 2020) 15:10

As confirmed Covid-19 cases have soared in most of Iran’s 31 provinces, its coronavirus taskforce is scheduled to discuss a proposal that would mandate face coverings for people outdoors.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the mandatory use of facemasks is “inevitable” in the “new stage” of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, President.ir reported.

“Although some countries have imposed penalties for the violation of Covid-19-related health codes, hopefully we won’t need to use force to enforce safety guidelines,” he said.

At least 50 countries require mandatory mask wearing to halt the spread of the outbreak. Face coverings can limit the release of infectious droplets when speaking, coughing or sneezing.

To prevent asymptomatic patients from infecting others, three of the coronavirus taskforce’s committees came together and formulated a proposal that, if approved, determines the regions or public spaces that will require face coverings.

The president reassured the public that low-priced masks will be made “widely accessible” before the law comes into effect. The government will also launch a public awareness campaign that aims to teach residents how to make homemade face cloths.

“Some 2,620 tested positive for the infectious disease in a 24-hour period, taking the national total to nearly 218,000,” Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted as saying by ISNA on Friday.

The fresh cases mark the highest tally of infections in 21 days. Over half of the new patients were hospitalized.

On the rising number of patients and fatalities, Rouhani said, “Although we have witnessed a surge in some counties over the past two weeks, overall numbers indicate a drop in virus transmission.”

 

 

Provinces to Announce Virus Data

Starting Saturday, the government will delegate authority to provinces to impose lockdown measures and announce daily numbers of fatalities and infections.

It has been nearly three months since the Health Ministry stopped reporting the caseload and deaths in each province.

The spokeswoman of Health Ministry said despite a reduction in hospitalizations, the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdestan are still in a state of emergency. 

Khuzestan, Hormozgan, West Azarbaijan and Bushehr provinces are in “red” zone while Alborz, Khorasan Razavi and East Azarbaijan provinces have reported alarming numbers of hospitalization.

According to Lari, 109 overnight deaths on Friday brought the toll to 10,239.

Roughly 2,900 are in critical condition and some 178,000 have recovered from the deadly illness. To identify infected patients, Iran has administered more than 1.55 million coronavirus tests.

Globally, 9.74 million have fallen ill due to SARS-CoV-2, and 493,000 have died. At least 5.27 million have recovered.

In terms of caseload, Mexico and Pakistan are right behind Iran as the 11th and 12th hardest-hit countries with 203,000 and 196,000 infections, respectively.