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Iran to launch “smart distancing” plan to fight COVID-19

The distancing plan which was launched last month has attained “good achievements,” Rouhani said at a meeting of the National Headquarters to Fight the Novel Coronavirus, state TV reported.

The next phase of social distancing plan is “smart distancing” as specifications of which will be laid out, he was quoted as saying.

On March 27, Iran announced the implementation of a one-week social distancing plan requiring all schools, universities, shopping malls, parks, sports complexes, swimming pools and entertainment facilities to be closed for the period, in order to stop gatherings and avoid unnecessary movements. The plan was later extended to April 8.

On Friday, a joint disinfection operation was conducted by Tehran municipal authorities, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s water and wastewater utilities in the capital’s center, one of the worst-hit areas of the outbreak in the city.

“We have used all facilities available to disinfect our city. There are about 360 neighborhoods in Tehran, all of which have been sterilized. We’ve been working for 20 days and nights. Today we have dispatched 40 vehicles,” said Karami Nezhad, deputy director of Tehran Water and Sewerage Department.

A total of 400 workers were involved in this disinfection operation, some of whom drove modified vehicles to spray disinfectant in streets and the others carried portable disinfection equipment to sterilize the public facilities.

“It’s very complicated and the virus is spreading among people , so we all have to do our bit. The army, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Basij (one of the five forces of IRGC) and the Water and Sewerage Department are all involved in the mission. We should try our best to eliminate the virus,” said Majid Isfahani, a member of IRGC.

Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said on Saturday that Iranian authorities consider “reducing the disease’s death rate and infection as well as easing the social and economic effects of it” as two main principles in their strategy of fighting the disease.

He lauded the general public for cooperating with social distancing guidelines over the past days, expressing concerns about possible spike in the number of infections with the virus in the capital Tehran as the Iranian New Year holidays are over.

Iran, the worst-hit country by the virus in the Middle East, on Saturday announced 55,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a death toll of 3,452.

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