A group of countries including Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua and Syria, sent a jointly-written letter to UN chief on Saturday in which they have asked him to use his authority for removal of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on certain countries, according to a statement issued by Russian Foreign Ministry.
The letter calls for an immediate lift of unilateral sanctions which hinder efforts of countries in effective fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Considering the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, removing any obstacle on the way of meeting emergency medical supplies is of special significance, the statement said.
The UN Security Council has excluded humanitarian data-x-items from its sanctions mechanisms, it added, noting that such mechanisms were expected to work and not be ignored for political concerns of certain countries.
"It is the only way to avoid harmful consequences of sanctions for ordinary people", the statement read.
“And I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity not exclusion,” said the UN Secretary-General in a letter to G20 on March 25.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting nearly all countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 28,200 people and infected over 613,000 others globally.
Iran reported on Saturday that a total number of 2,517 coronavirus patients have died and 35,408 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 11,679 people have also recovered.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended until early April.
The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s North, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.
Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.
He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.
Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.
He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.
According to the latest statistics of Health Ministry, the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 90 across the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.
The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.
The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.