Rouhani orders ministry to form national HQ, control coronavirus outbreak
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered Health Ministry to launch headquarters and contain the outbreak of coronavirus.
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Citing a report by the president’s information center on Sunday, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Rouhani had assigned the Iranian health minister to hold regular sessions at the headquarters and employ the entire potential of the ministry’s affiliates to help preclude further spread of the deadly virus in a bid to eradicate the disease.
“Since all state bodies must strive toward prevention of the coronavirus disease, hereby, you are tasked with forming a headquarters called the 'National Headquarters for the Management of Coronavirus Disease’," Rouhani said in his edict to Health Minister Saeed Namaki.
Iran's president stipulated that the new organ must work under command of the health minister and should also include the ministers of interior; road and urban development; education; science, research and technology; cultural heritage, tourism and handicrafts; culture and Islamic guidance; as well as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s armed forces, the office of the attorney general, head of Plan and Budget Organization, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, head of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, the administration’s spokesman, and Iran's police chief.
The Iranian president also underlined that in addition to holding regular sessions to make way for field study and precise data assessment and to facilitate decision-making processes concerning the outbreak, the ministry was obliged to utilize all the capacity of related divisions to help fight and uproot the deadly virus as soon as possible and report the results on a regular basis.
Rouhani had earlier ordered the formation of a special task force aimed at taking necessary preventative measures and confronting further spread of the coronvirus, known as COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year and has claimed several lives in the Islamic Republic so far.
Iran on Sunday put in place a set of contingency plans, including the temporary shutdown of schools, universities and cultural centers, in an effort to curb the outbreak that has already claimed eight lives in the country.
The Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced that the number of people who had tested positive for the virus had risen to 43, with the epicenter of the outbreak being in the central city of Qom.
As a preventive measure, Iranian authorities ordered a week-long closure of educational and cultural institutions across 14 provinces, including Qom, Markazi, Gilan, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Zanjan, Mazandaran, Golestan, Hamadan, Alborz, Semnan, Kordestan, and the capital city, Tehran.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Iran first surfaced on Wednesday, when authorities said it had claimed the lives of two elderly people in Qom.
More than 2,400 people have died of coronavirus since its outbreak more than a month ago in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Countries such as South Korea and Iran are reporting a growing number of infections despite a fall in cases in China in recent days.
The coronavirus can cause various illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as pneumonia.
Common signs of the infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and other breathing difficulties.