Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Iran reopen restaurants and cafes nationwide, as of May 27, amid easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.

This alert affects Iran

This alert began 27 May 2020 02:39 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Iranian authorities reopened restaurants and cafes nationwide, as of May 27, as part of measures to ease restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Restaurants can accept customers but must continue to abide by safe distancing protocols. Workers can return to their jobs May 30. Universities, except for medical schools, will reopen nationwide June 6.

Iran previously reopened museums and historical sites May 24 and shrines 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 face masks and gloves. Mosques across the country reopened May 12.

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. Schools in White Zones reopened May 16, but remain closed in Yellow and Red zones.

Officials lifted an intercity travel ban and permitted shopping malls and bazaars to reopen nationwide April 20. President Hassan Rouhani stated that shopping malls and bazaars are required to close by 1800 daily. Authorities also permitted many standalone shops, factories, and workshops to reopen in the capital Tehran from April 18 after they reopened elsewhere across the country April 11. Many government offices also reopened 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.

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.


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