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Hard-hit Iran to ease coronavirus restrictions next week

Iran plans to ease coronavirus restrictions next week, after being hit particularly badly by the pandemic, President Hassan Rowhani announced on Sunday.

Iran plans to ease coronavirus restrictions next week, after being hit particularly badly by the pandemic, President Hassan Rowhani announced on Sunday.

More than 3,600 people have died in Iran due to Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the latest Health Ministry data. The country has had an overall 58,226 confirmed infections.

From Saturday, some shops in the Iranian provinces will be allowed to reopen under strict hygiene conditions, Rowhani said. In the capital Tehran, the same easing of restrictions will apply a week later, from April 18.

However, locations such as sports halls, stadiums and swimming pools are to remain closed, along with other places where a large number of people could gather, increasing the risk of infection.

From April 11, two thirds of civil servants will be allowed to return to work between 7 am and 2 pm. At present, only one third can go to their offices.

Schools and universities will remain closed until April 18 at the earliest, with a possible exception for doctoral students, Rowhani said, according to a statement from his office.

Religious sites will also stay closed until then, with Friday prayers banned until further notice. Until April 18, travel between provinces is not permitted.

Iran’s coronavirus emergency task force is due to discuss further measures at its next meeting on April 12, Rowhani said, stressing that the health of citizens was the top priority.

Iran is suffering from the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East. Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, one of the country’s most influential politicians, is among those who have tested positive.

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