News Alerts

12 May 2020 | 12:17 PM UTC

Iran: Mosques to reopen temporarily May 12 /update 27

Iran News Alert

Iranian authorities temporarily reopen mosques on May 12 for Ramadan commemoration; take precautions against virus

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/12/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/18/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Tehran). COUNTRY/REGION Iran

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Event

Iranian officials announced that mosques would be permitted to reopen on Tuesday, May 12, for three consecutive days to commemorate specific nights of Ramadan. Authorities have not clarified whether mosques will stay open in high-risk coronavirus disease (COVID-19) zones past the three days. However, mosques reopened in low-risk zones on Monday, May 4. The measure likely does not apply to Khuzestan province. Schools are set to reopen during the week of Sunday, May 17, in low-risk zones.

Iran's health ministry has divided the country into white, yellow, and red (low, medium, and high risk) areas based on the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. All white areas, 132 counties and around a third of the country's administrative divisions, were permitted to reopen mosques providing that they follow social distancing guidelines. On Friday, May 8, prayer gatherings resumed in up to 180 Iranian cities and towns seen at low risk. 

The governor of Khuzestan province announced on Sunday, May 10, that multiple counties in the province will be placed under lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cases of COVID-19 rose heavily in the province earlier in the week, prompting authorities to introduce measures. In Abadan, banks and offices will be closed until at least the end of the week, while entry corridors to the county from the north and east have been closed. Offices will be closed, and travel restrictions will also apply to nine other counties in Khuzestan. It is not clear as of Monday, May 11, how long the lockdown measures will be in place for.

On Wednesday, April 29, President Rouhani announced that the government was preparing to ease restrictions governing work and business activity in place since March. Rouhani stated that work and production were as essential to the country as following medical precautions, and that Iran should be reopened for business due to the uncertainty over when the pandemic might end. Following the statement, the Iranian Customs Administration announced that two additional border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan would be reopened for trade on Thursday, April 30, bringing the total of open crossings to six.

Parks, gardens, and recreational areas have since reopened as part of the easing of measures while gyms, restaurants, and cafés remain closed until further notice. Additionally, government offices began reopening nationwide from Saturday, April 11, except for those in Tehran.

As of May 12, there have been 109,286 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Iran, including 6685 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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