People wearing face masks walk beside Chitgar Lake in Tehran, Iran, July 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
Iran's supreme leader urges Iranians to fully stick to health guidelines while expressing his deep regret over a spike in coronavirus infections and the rise of daily deaths.
TEHRAN, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday called on the Iranians to fully adhere to health guidelines amid the resurgence of COVID-19 in most parts of the country.
Khamenei expressed his deep regret over a spike in coronavirus infections and the rise of daily deaths, according to Press TV.
Referring to the initial "success" of the Iranian health authorities in fighting the novel coronavirus, Khamenei said Iran is "certainly capable of overcoming the disease."
A bus driver wearing a face mask is seen in Tehran, Iran, July 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
He urged government institutions, aid groups and the entire nation to "play their role in the best way so that we can break the infection chain in the short term and lead the country to the shore of safety."
The Iranian leader touched on Iran's economic problems arising from the U.S. sanctions as the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The enemies admit that they have not been able to achieve their anti-Iran goals despite their toughest sanctions and all-out pressure," he noted.
Iran has reimposed some restrictions on the cities in parts of the country amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.
The number of daily new cases has increased sharply recently following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in mid-April.
On Sunday, Iran's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 257,303 after an overnight registration of 2,186 new infections, state-run IRNA news agency reported.
People wearing face masks are seen at a subway station in downtown Tehran, Iran, on May 30, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said during her daily briefing that out of the new cases in the past 24 hours, 1,499 have been hospitalized.
The pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 12,829 Iranians, up by 194 in the past 24 hours.
Besides, 219,993 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 3,359 remain in critical condition.
According to Lari, 1,972,207 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran by Sunday.
Iran has announced a second shutdown of national libraries, indoor sports activities, ceremony halls and cinemas in high risk zones, while the wearing of face masks is made mandatory in public vehicles and indoor spaces.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said those who do not observe the health protocols will be denied services at state institutions and offices.
The Iranian government has allowed provinces to reimpose restrictions in high risk counties and provinces.
On July 11, Rouhani reiterated his position for "balanced" measures in response to the disease.
He underlined the necessity to reopen economic activities with protective measures to reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19.
Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.
Iran and China have offered mutual help in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In mid-February, at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Iran lit up the Tehran Azadi (Liberty) Tower to show its solidarity with China, and donated 3 million masks to China.
In return, China has delivered several shipments of medical supplies to Iran. On Feb. 29, a five-member Chinese medical team visited Iran for a month-long mission to help Iran fight the pandemic. ■