In a statement on Friday, the coronavirus task force extended the measures for two more weeks, and announced that only essential services, including health centers, pharmacies and food shops, will be allowed to open in the high-risk areas, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The restrictions were first imposed on November 21 as part of the government’s measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
As before, all nonessential businesses will have to close at 6 p.m. Private vehicles are still prohibited from leaving the high-risk areas – red and orange zones – until further notice, and are banned from circulating between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. in Tehran and other large cities.
Government offices and organizations in red zone areas are allowed to work with less than 30% of their employees, while banks, post offices, communications and other utilities can work with half their staff, the statement said.
Positive cases surpass 1,000,000
Speaking at a daily press conference on Friday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said the number of people tested positive for the COVID-19 across the country rose by 13,341 to 1,016,835 during a 24-hour period, according to IRNA.
She put the total death toll at 49,695 after 347 people lost their lives from Thursday to Friday.
In recent days, Iran has seen a decline in coronavirus deaths following the imposition of the tough restrictions.
Lari noted that the decrease in the number of fatalities shows the national determination to defeat the disease, which requires strict observance of the health protocols as well as the continuous cooperation of people and the executive organizations.
On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani pointed to the “successful” implementation of the restrictions and people’s cooperation in observing the health protocols, expressing hope that different cities would quickly to be removed from the list of the cities classified as “red” – the highest category in the country’s color-coded risk scale.
Iran has been divided up into white, yellow, orange and red regions based on the number of infections and deaths.
According to a report by the country’s coronavirus task force, 64 out of 160 cities registered as high-risk cities since November 21, are still in the “red” zone.
The Iranian government has also announced that it will place orders for vaccines developed by major international pharmaceutical companies while it pursues its own plans to develop a homemade vaccine to tackle COVID-19, according to Press TV.
An Iranian deputy transportation minister said on Tuesday the country has officially begun preparations for transfer and storage of vaccines needed to battle the spread of COVID-19.
Shahram Adamnejad said that works had started to set up special storage houses in an Iranian airport to take delivery of COVID-19 vaccines that need to be stored in ultra-cold freezers.