Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Iranian authorities allow select businesses to reopen in Tehran starting April 18 amid a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

This alert affects Iran

This alert began 19 Apr 2020 00:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: April 18
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Iranian authorities permitted designated low-risk businesses to reopen from April 18 in the capital Tehran, amid a gradual easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions. The measure occurred as Iran's daily COVID-19 death toll decreased to the lowest figure in over a month. Low-risk businesses are defined by the government to include many stand-alone shops, factories, and workshops, which reopened elsewhere throughout the country, beginning April 11. High-risk businesses such as theaters, gyms, beauty salons, restaurants, and shopping centers remain closed nationwide. Schools, universities, and mosques also remain closed. Public gatherings are banned.

Additionally, Iranian authorities will lift an intercity travel ban starting April 20. Officials initially implemented the measure March 26 after many Iranians ignored a government advisory and traveled during the Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebrations March 20. Several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, have banned travel to and from Iran. Iranian authorities could further ease COVID-related restrictions or reinstate them depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Iran correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.