Iran Begins Sending Some Back to Work Despite Continuing Pandemic
Although reporting an additional 125 deaths from coronavirus in the previous 24-hour period, Iran on Saturday began reopening some offices and places of business after an almost week-long lockdown. Authorities in Tehran are calling them “low-risk” entities and they include government offices, factories and shops outside the capital Tehran, where some businesses will be allowed to reopen next Saturday if employees and patrons follow social-distancing guidelines. Iran is considered the Middle East’s epicenter for the pandemic – the official number of fatalities there was 4,357 as of Saturday, although at least one opposition group says it has topped 25,000. It was among the last of these countries to instate a nationwide lockdown, making do with local closures and travel bans among major cities and provinces. The government has come under withering criticism since the beginning of the crisis, announcing that coronavirus had breached the country’s borders only after the first two victims died on February 19.