Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread: Rouhani

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FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York

Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread: Rouhani

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York

(Reuters) - Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of COVID-19, police said on Saturday.

President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days.

The official IRNA news agency said Tehran police had extended by one week the closure of businesses including beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs.

Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down, IRNA quoted police official Nader Moradi as saying.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions from next week in the 25 provinces and 89 counties will include include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.

Rouhani said in televised remarks that strict health protocols should be observed when holding weddings and funerals in those provinces and counties.

Iranian authorities have blamed a sharp increase in cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and Rouhani said an operations headquarters will be set up to ensure compliance with the health protocols.

Total COVID-19 deaths rose by 386 over the past 24 hours to reach 34,864, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Saturday, adding total cases rose by 7,820 to 612,772.

(dubai.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by Frances Kerry)