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Shut Down Iran, Coronavirus Specialist Warns

Iranians, wearing protective masks without observing social distancing, queue outside a money exchange office in the capital Tehran on May 9, 2020

The most outspoken specialist concerning Iran's infectious diseases, Dr. Minoo Mohraz, says the country's condition under the novel coronavirus epidemic has never been as "horrendous" as today.

Calling the cancellation of the gathering of the heads of Iran's three branches of power the "right decision," Dr. Mohraz added, "Any assembly in closed spaces is dangerous in the current situation. All gatherings, including parliamentary sessions and executive meetings, should be as limited as possible."

An Iranian physician, researcher, AIDS specialist and member of Iran's National Headquarters for combating coronavirus, Dr. Mohraz underlined that "coronavirus is not joking with anyone," adding that meetings should be held virtually and that Iran's Majlis parliament should shut down until further notice.

"The members of parliament's seats are very close to each other," Dr. Mohraz stressed. "Therefore, if a parliamentary session cannot be postponed, the MPs' social distancing should be respected. The MPs should sit quite far from each other. If that cannot be done, it would be better to close down Majlis."

Dr. Mohraz also shared that no more space exists for patients in hospitals, with the country's Intensive Care Units (ICU) suffering from a lack of available beds and ventilators.

Meanwhile, the First Deputy of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) Iraj Harirchi announced that using masks would be mandatory across Iran beginning next Saturday. Anyone who violates the rule would pay a fine.

Elaborating on the amount of the fine and how it is applied, Harirchi said, "Various expertise is underway on the issue. On Monday, a draft resolution was compiled to punish 'people who are aware of being infected by coronavirus but commute in the society'. They will also pay a hefty fine."

Deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in Iran hit a new record on Wednesday, October 7, as 239 new deaths were registered in a 24-hour period, the highest since the virus first arrived in the country, the state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at a daily press conference on Wednesday, MOHME spokesperson Sima Lari said that 4,019 new cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, putting the country's total infections at 483,844.

With 239 new deaths in 24 hours, Iran's total death toll had increased to 27,658, she said.

Lari noted that 4,274 patients are also in critical condition, and 397,109 people have so far recovered from the disease.

She also said 4,207,631 COVID-19 tests had so far been taken across the country.