Iranian authorities announced on Sunday, June 28, that the wearing of face masks in public places will become mandatory from Sunday, July 5, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The measures will remain in place until July 22; however, they may be extended further. The government cited covered spaces where the public gather as specific areas where masks should be worn, and that a list of spaces deemed high risk of COVID-19 transmission had been devised; however, it has not been released to the public as of Monday, June 29, afternoon (local time). The use of masks and protective equipment had been optional in most areas of the country; however, the government's decision comes following a recent spike in COVID-19-related deaths. The government also announced that authorities in areas that are identified as 'red', the highest level on Iran's color-coded scale for COVID-19 risk, may reimpose lockdown measures if necessary. The provinces of Bushehr, East Azerbaijan, Hormozgan, Kermanshah, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Kurdistan, Lorestan, and West Azerbaijan are classified as 'red', with high numbers of cases. Authorities also cited the provinces of Golestan, and Sistan and Baluchestan as areas of concern.
Mosques, malls, and businesses reopened at the end of May, with social distancing measures in place. People have been encouraged to return to work, and parks, gardens, and recreational areas have also reopened as part of the easing of measures.
As of Monday, June 29, authorities have confirmed at least 225,205 case of COVID-19 and 10,670 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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.
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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