Iran’s deputy health minister says authorities are seeking to stem the spread of coronavirus and at the same time cushion the economic blow from the epidemic.
Iraj Harirchi said the two objectives are hard to be achieved at the same time.
“We have two issues at hand; one is to control the disease and bring down the fatality and infection rate; the other goal is to mitigate the economic and social fallout from the virus,” he said.
“The key point is that these two objectives are mutually exclusive, and it is not possible to achieve both goals at the same time,” he noted.
“What is important is that our objective is to enforce social distancing, which means reducing contact among people; however, we should see to what extent our economy can bear it because Iran is fighting not only coronavirus, but also sanctions,” the deputy health minister said.
He also thanked people for their cooperation while implementing the social distancing plan.
“People’s ongoing cooperation with regards to the social distancing program has been exceptional,” urging them to keep maximum social distance.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the official noted that the infection rate in most provinces across the country has been on the decline, but “this does not mean the disease has been controlled and contained.”
“We are still concerned about coronavirus. Traffic levels in Tehran today worried us, and these people can carry the virus home or to their workplace,” the deputy health minister underlined.
He specifically voiced concern about the situation in Tehran.
“In provinces where the disease began to spread sooner [than in other provinces] and are regarded as high-danger provinces, the infection rate is dropping, and this trend is seen in most provinces,” he said.
He said the fatality and infection rate is relatively rising in certain other provinces.
“We are concerned about Tehran. Because it is a key province, the existence of virus even at a medium level can contribute to its spread,” he said.