“Our first national duty is to break up the coincidence of sanctions and coronavirus,” Ali Rabiei said at a weekly press conference on Monday, held through video conferencing.
While the world is gripped by the common challenge of COVID-19, Iran is faced with an alliance between the disease and the sanctions, he noted, stressing that self-confidence will steer Iran towards the point that a dignified, independent and progressive nation deserves.
He further noted that living under the specter of sanctions and coronavirus requires a new lifestyle in the economic, social and international relations.
The spokesman said the administration began the new Iranian year without any holidays and with strong resolve to overcome the challenges, defeat the cruel sanctions, and prevent the coronavirus from disrupting the life of people.
Rabiei then highlighted the efforts that the administration and the Armed Forces have made to contain the spread of coronavirus, saying there are currently 13,000 unoccupied hospital beds in the country and the military forces have also set up large convalescent homes.
Instead of passiveness, the administration has taken practical action and has carried out a national scheme to screen people for COVID-19 testing, he noted, saying more than 60 million people have been screened so far in the countrywide project.
According to Rabiei, the vast majority of the senior citizens in Iran have been screened for coronavirus in the national scheme.
The administration has also intensified efforts to eliminate the Health Ministry’s budget deficit and has allocated a sum of more than 12,000 billion tomans for the medical equipment, medicines and other items, the spokesman stated.
On the plans to avert mass unemployment, Rabiei said the administration has allotted 75,000 billion tomans in credit with a 12% interest rate to a program to protect the workers and production, and has also allocated a sum of 5,000 billion tomans to the unemployment insurance in order to strengthen the businesses.
Moreover, the people without any insurance coverage will receive support packages or financial facilities from a fund with more than 8,000 billion tomans financing, the spokesperson noted, saying the administration has also extended the deadlines for tax payments and bank loan installments.
He finally pointed to the plans on social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19 without disrupting the daily life of people, citing the closure of schools and universities, religious sites, sports competitions, cultural events and many public places.
Iran’s Health Ministry announced on Monday that the coronavirus death toll in the country has risen to 2,757, as the number of infected cases has exceeded 41,000.