Sat, 08 Aug 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rohani says Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied public services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week.

Rohani made the comments on July 4 as he announced new steps to try to curb the coronavirus pandemic that was first confirmed in Iran in February.

'Not wearing a mask is a de facto violation of other people's rights,' the Iranian president said, according to the presidential website.

The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at 11,408, while the total number of infections reached 237,878, according to official figures released by the Health Ministry on July 4. The actual number of cases is believed to be significantly higher.

Wearing masks becomes mandatory from July 5 in covered public places, Rohani announced, after tougher curbs were imposed in cities and towns in five provinces where the number of infections are rising after a gradual easing of lockdowns from mid-April.

'Government employees should not serve people who do not wear masks and employees who do not wear them should be considered absentees and sent home,' said Rohani.

Those infected have a 'religious duty' to notify others, Rohani said, adding: 'Keeping your infection a secret violates the rights of other people.'

The government website has published photos of Rohani, who is rarely seen wearing a mask, with a face mask.

Days earlier, a photo of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei wearing a face mask was published by his website.

The government has in past days called on citizens to wear face masks and a weeklong campaign by state television has been warning viewers that the coronavirus 'is not a joke."

More than a dozen Iranian soccer players from the domestic Esteghlal and Foolad Khuzestan clubs have tested positive for the coronavirus, Iranian media reported on July 4.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and IRNA

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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