Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Iran to make wearing of masks in public compulsory from July 5 through at least July 21 due to increased COVID-19 activity.
- Alert Begins: 02 Jul 2020 06:42 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 23 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Start Time/Date: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security
Iranian authorities announced that wearing facemasks in public places and gatherings will be compulsory from July 5 through at least July 21 following an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Officials have also allowed Red zones or provinces with high numbers of COVID-19 cases to reimpose restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Health had divided the country into White, Yellow, and Red zones depending on the COVID-19 fatality rate and extent of the outbreak, with White being the lowest threat. Zones with more than three COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population are categorized as Red, while White zones have less than one.
Previous measures introduced include:
- Cinemas, theaters, and cultural centers reopened June 21.
- Kindergartens and tourist sites reopened June 13.
- Universities reopened nationwide June 6.
- Restaurants and cafes reopened nationwide May 26. Restaurants can accept customers but must continue to abide by safe distancing protocols.
- Religious shrines reopened May 25. Shrines are allowed to open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. Worshipers must adhere to strict social distancing regulations and wear mandatory facemasks and gloves.
- Museums and historical sites reopened May 24.
- Schools reopened May 16.
- Mosques reopened nationwide May 8.
- Officials lifted the ban on intercity travel April 20.
- Shopping malls and bazaars reopened April 20.
- Government offices resumed work April 11.
Iranian authorities could lift more restrictions or reintroduce them depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks. Large public gatherings remain banned. Several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, have banned travel to and from Iran.
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.
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.