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Rouhani warns 25 million infected as Iran reimposes restrictions

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian woman and her son wearing a protective face mask walks the street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tehran, Iran, June 28, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

REUTERS, JULY 18, 2020

An estimated 30% of Iran’s 82 million citizens have been infected by the coronavirus according to Iranian President Rouhani.

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(Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that 25 million Iranians have been infected with the coronavirus and that another 35 million were at risk of acquiring it as Iran reimposed restrictions in the capital and elsewhere.

The figures Rouhani cited in a televised speech were far higher than Saturday’s official toll of 271,606.

His office said they were based on “an estimated scenario” from a report by the health ministry’s deputy minister of research.

“Our estimate is that until now 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus and about 14,000 have lost their dear lives,” Rouhani said in the speech. “There is the possibility that between 30 and 35 million other people will be at risk.”

He said more than 200,000 people had been hospitalised and that the ministry expected that number to double in the coming months.

RESTRICTIONS REIMPOSED

President Hassan Rouhani adjusts his face mask
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani adjusts his face mask in a meeting of the national headquarters of the fight against the COVID-19, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Authorities on Saturday reimposed one-week restrictions in the capital Tehran including banning religious and cultural functions, closing boarding schools, cafes, indoor pools, amusement parks and zoos.

The Health Ministry reported 188 deaths in the past 24 hours to take Iran’s total to 13,979.

Iran, with a population of more than 80 million, has been the Middle East country hardest hit by the epidemic, with infections and deaths rising sharply since restrictions were eased beginning in mid-April.

From Sunday, 22 cities and towns in the southwestern Khuzestan Province will be under a three-day lockdown, the province’s governorate announced on Saturday.

That will include Behbahan, where police on Thursday fired tear gas into a crowd protesting over economic hardships.

Editing by Jason Neely

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