Iran May Bring Back Lockdowns as Weddings Drive Virus Surge

(Bloomberg) -- A surge in coronavirus cases in Iran, partly driven by wedding parties, may prompt the return of lockdowns in the country’s worst-hit provinces, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

President Hassan Rouhani said “urgent measures” will be finalized and approved at a coronavirus task-force meeting Saturday, and will be applied in so-called “red zones” where cases have spiked, IRNA reported, citing his office.

Officials, including Rouhani, have blamed the rise in cases on a lack of adherence to social distancing and people organizing wedding parties and funeral ceremonies in defiance of a ban on these events. In one province a single wedding led to the infection of 120 people, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi told reporters during a visit to Kordestan, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Earlier this week, daily deaths from the virus surpassed 100 for the first time since April 13, when Iran first started to ease restrictions in order to begin repairing its sanctions-hit economy.

Declared “red zones” include the provinces of Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kordestan and Bushehr, all along Iran’s western flank, either bordering Iraq or on the Persian Gulf coast.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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