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World News

Iran prepares to impose new coronavirus lockdowns as cases rise

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council In Yerevan, Armenia October 1, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday authorised the country’s provinces to impose lockdowns wherever necessary to stem a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

“We are forced to intensify regulations and supervisions, starting in the capital Tehran,” Rouhani said in televised remarks.

He said government-run coronavirus task-force offices around the country would make recommendations on restrictions and whether to impose one-week lockdowns.

Measures could include “restrictions or shutdowns” of schools, universities, seminaries, mosques, cafeterias, sports and cultural venues, hair salons.

“If provincial governors deem it necessary, these centers will have to close for a week,” Rouhani said.

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 172 on Saturday to 25,394, and identified cases by 3,204 to 443,086, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV.

Iran’s health officials have expressed alarm over a surge in infections, urging the country to respect health protocols to control the spread of the disease.

Iran’s health officials have expressed alarm over a surge in infections, urging the country to respect health protocols to control the spread of the disease.

Editing by Jane Merriman and Christina Fincher

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