1029 GMT May 13, 2021
Speaking at a Saturday meeting of the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus, he said the main cause of the fourth wave of the pandemic in Iran has been the UK strain of the virus that has spread from Iraq into the border provinces of Khuzestan and Ilam in western Iran, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The president also blamed the new COVID-19 wave on the increase in holding public gatherings, negligence and laxity in observing the health protocols and unrestrained travels during the Norouz holidays (March 21-April 2), celebrated to mark the arrival of the New Year in Iran and the spring.
He added the celebrations and wedding ceremonies, which were held over the past few weeks in violation of the COVID-19 restrictions, have also encouraged the spread of the virus.
Rouhani called for legal actions against violators of the health protocols and regulations, warning against any refusal to self-isolate and self-quarantine by the those infected with the virus.
The Iranian Health Ministry announced on Saturday that daily COVID-19 deaths in the country reached 190 in the past 24 hours.
This comes as to curb the spread of the virus, all Iranian cities coded red (very high-risk) and orange (high-risk) in terms of the coronavirus spread have entered a two-week partial lockdown as of Saturday.
The partial lockdown, imposed as per a Thursday decision by the anti-coronavirus task force, involves a number of restrictions such as travel bans, closure of businesses and public places and limiting public gatherings.
However, those businesses and government departments whose services are deemed necessary for people’s daily lives remain open during the two-week lockdown. Closures also affect theaters, cinemas, sport centers and even gatherings held prior to the start of the holy month of Ramadan which falls on April 14.
In an address to a press conference on Saturday, the Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 193 coronavirus patients died across the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 64,232.
She said the total number of people testing positive for COVID-19 infection in Iran has exceeded 2,049,000 following the detection of 19,666 new cases since yesterday, adding 2,205 of the newly-detected patients have been hospitalized.
More than 1,702,000 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across Iran, the spokeswoman added.
Among those currently undergoing treatment in Iranian medical centers, 4,329 coronavirus patients are in critical conditions, Lari regretted.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 across the world has surpassed 135 million, with the death toll exceeding 2.93 million.
Lari said 257 cities in the country are coded red, while 129 cities are categorized as orange, adding based on a decision by the anti-coronavirus task force, travel to and from these cities is prohibited.
She put the number of the country’s yellow (medium-risk) and blue (low-risk) cities at 51 and 11, respectively.
On Friday, the spokeswoman said the pace of hospitalizations in the new COVID-19 wave in Iran is 3.7 times faster than the previous ones.
Also, expressing concern over the hugeness of the new wave in the country, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned that the number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations is expected to grow in the coming days, according to IRNA.
He made the remark in a letter to his deputies and heads of the country’s universities of medicals sciences.