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Iran To Introduce Strict Lockdown Of Cities Soon, Spokesman Says

Disinfecting streets in central Tehran against coronavirus (COVID-19). Undated photo.

The Spokesman of President Hassan Rouhani's administration said Wednesday the government will soon impose strict lockdowns to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic.

The coronavirus epidemic, even according to the officially announced death toll and infection cases has claimed the lives of at least 1,934 and infected more than 24,000 Iranians. Many believe that the numbers are much higher and could even be as much as five-fold.

Speaking after a weekly Cabinet meeting, Ali Rabiee said the president has endorsed imposing a ban on "traveling from and to cities" and that the government will announce the by-laws to enforce the decision soon.

Rabiee also said that the health system has been able to "relatively" control the "first wave of the epidemic" but a second wave of the epidemic could be on the way because some people have not taken the health workers' advice to limit contact with others seriously.

Also speaking after the cabinet meeting, Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said roads will be more strictly monitored. He urged people to cooperate with the authorities to enforce the decision "which will come into effect from tomorrow or the day after".

Rahmani-Fazli also said the Judiciary is to decide and announce penalties for non-compliance with the decisions taken about social distancing and the Police will enforce them.

In his address to the members of his cabinet on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said the Health Ministry has drawn up a plan for introducing "stricter measures" to enforce "social-distancing", which a committee headed by the Interior Minister is now weighing and making decisions about. "The plan will be approved and communicated for enforcement," he said.

The details of the plan that Rouhani referred to have not been announced yet but the Interior Minister has indicated that all parks and big stores may be shut down and all unnecessary travels will be banned.