IRAN will weather the challenges of the coronavirus, said President Hassan Rouhani on Friday during a speech to mark the Persian New Year, Nowruz.
Along with U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran in an attempt to block its nuclear programmes, the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus – which is hitting Iran much harder than most other nations – is an “unwelcome guest” that will soon be banished, said Rouhani in a televised statement.
“We had two great challenges in the last year, which we will have to beat in the New Year,” he said.
He added that Iran would prevail against the U.S. sanctions as well, even though they were hurting the country’s economy and especially its oil sector, by showing resistance and ramping up domestic production.
Along with a spiralling toll of sick and dead – more than 18,000 are infected with the coronavirus and 1,284 have died of the COVID-19 disease it causes – Iran has also seen its economy take a further hit due to the viral outbreak.
Most of the infected are in Tehran, which has reported about 4,400 cases.
However, in a bright spot, 6,000 people have reportedly recovered from the disease, including a 103-year-old woman in the city of Semnan.
To keep fighting the disease, Rowhani urged people to skip the family visits that are a traditional part of Nowruz.
He recommended that people stay home during the two-week festival.
Fears about the virus are so great that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, skipped his annual speech.
The country has also put several of its holy cities under quarantine, in an effort to discourage the virus’ spread. It has been weeks since Iran has had Friday prayers. (Dpa/NAN)
– Mar. 20, 2020 @ 11:49 GMT |