COVID-19: Iran to empty streets, check 80 million people

Iran has embarked on its toughest measure yet to combat the outbreak of coronavirus.

The country announced Friday that the security forces will clear the streets nationwide within 24 hours so all citizens can be checked for coronavirus.

Since it announced the first deaths last month, Iran has shut schools, postponed events and discouraged travel ahead of Nowrouz, the country’s New Year holidays.

But despite those and other measures including the cancellation of the main weekly Friday prayers, the official number of deaths and infections has continued to grow exponentially.

The COVID-19 epidemic in Iran — a nation of more than 80 million people — has now claimed over 500 lives and infected more than 11,000.

Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday ordered the armed forces to lead the battle against the outbreak.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei instructed the security forces to bring their services together and expand efforts to combat the virus.

Acting on those orders, armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri chaired a meeting on Friday that included Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Salami and police chief Hossein Ashtari.

Speaking after the meeting, Bagheri said: “During the next 10 days, the entire Iranian nation will be monitored once through cyberspace, by phone and, if necessary, in person, and those suspected of being ill will be fully identified.”

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