Iran will be in lockdown for five consecutive days from Monday, August 16, to Saturday, August 21, the National Coronavirus Taskforce announced on August 14.
In a letter to the Supreme Leader Khamenei, Health Minister Saeed Namaki had asked for a two-week lockdown. But his request failed to attract so much as one vote at the meeting of the taskforce.
“The travel ban will start at noon Sunday and will continue until [next] Saturday,” said Alireza Raisi, a spokesman for the taskforce. Except for emergency services and essential businesses, h said, all businesses, government offices and banks will be closed during the lockdown.
“Health experts emphasize that a total lockdown will be effective in controlling the current surge of the pandemic...a lockdown not only of offices and employees but also of roads, restaurants and shopping centers, not like the recent one...when everywhere was open and the roads in northern Iran were overloaded with travelers,” wrote Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) after the drastic measure was announced.
According to official statistics, an average of more than 500 Iranians per day are now losing their lives to Covid-19. The real death toll is likely to be significantly higher. Fars News Agency reported that juston Friday, August 13, 216 victims of coronavirus were buried in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. In total, 390 people were buried in that cemetery on that day: an unprecedented number in the 51-year history of Behesht-e Zahra.
Iranian health experts and even some government health officials have said on multiple occasions that the real number of daily deaths could be as much as double those being formally recorded.