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Iran to further tighten coronavirus restrictions

Coronavirus patients at the Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran, Iran. (Mohsen Atayi/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani says stricter coronavirus restrictions will be imposed in the country starting November 21.

The announcement on November 14 comes amid a surge in coronavirus infections and fatalities in the Middle East country hardest hit by the virus.

The measures will be imposed in the capital, Tehran, and about 100 other towns and cities.

“The people have to accept the bitter fact that this problem will remain with us for a long time and that we will have to live with this unwanted guest for the duration,” Rohani said.

Nonessential businesses and services will be shut and cars will not be allowed to leave or enter cities in a bid to restrict travel, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a media briefing.

“The goal is not to shut down people’s businesses, but we have to set limits,” Raisi said.

Iran has been reluctant to impose strict lockdowns due to a fragile economy devastated by crippling U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s official death toll from the pandemic currently stands at more than 41,000, while the number of coronavirus cases confirmed to date is nearing 750,000. Real numbers are believed to be significantly higher.

The government on November 10 imposed restrictions for one month in major cities, requiring all nonessential businesses to close at 6 p.m.