16 March 2020 - 10:11
News ID: 449632
President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed rumors that Iran is planning to put Tehran and other cities under quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak.

RNA - Rouhani also said after a meeting with members of the government economic bureau as well as representatives of the private sector that talks were underway with neighboring countries to facilitate cross-border trade. 

"We have no such thing as quarantine at all. There have been rumors that certain jobs and stores in Tehran or some cities will be quarantined. They are not true," he said.

"There will be no quarantine neither today nor during, before or after Nowruz," he added, referring to the Persian New Year holiday which begins on March 20.

Rouhani also stressed that people are free to pursue their professions as they like, while the government continues to offer its services as usual.  

"However, we are doing our best so that the government's economic activities and services are offered in a way that will keep people at home longer and prevent them from mingling as much as possible," he noted.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president said Iran was holding talks with its neighbors to facilitate cross-border trade and transportation of goods.

Rouhani outlined the government's plans to help people and businesses overcome difficulties in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

These measures include giving cash handouts to those with low wages and offering tax and utility breaks of up to three months.

The new coronavirus, called COVID-19, initially emerged in China late last year and is now spreading in Europe and across the Middle East.

724 Iranians killed; 13,938 infected

Kianoush Jahanpour, the head of the public relations and information center of the Iranian Ministry of Health, said Sunday the virus had claimed 113 lives in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll to 724.

Jahanpour said that 1,209 fresh cases were added to the number of confirmed infections during the period, bringing the total to 13,938.

"The good news is that more than 4,590 of the overall confirmed cases have recovered" and the patients have been discharged from hospitals, he added.

The official said people should cancel all travel and stay at home so that the situation would improve in the coming days.

Jahanpour called on Iranians to "take the coronavirus seriously" and especially be mindful of elderly relatives who are most vulnerable to the infection.

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