Gov't working to minimise COVID-19 tolls on economy, people's lives: Rouhani

TEHRAN, Mar. 11 (MNA) – Stressing that everybody must take the issue of coronavirus seriously, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “The world is unanimous that to fight coronavirus, the chain must be cut from its origin and minimizing urban and interurban travel.”

Speaking on Wednesday at cabinet session, President Hassan Rouhani said, "The Government members are doing their best to minimize the COVID-19 tolls on the economy and people's lives."

Appreciating the hard work of all people involved in fighting COVID-19 in the country, President said, "Nowruz is a good opportunity to win the fight against coronavirus and it must not turn into unmanaged travels, giving the virus a chance for more outbreak."

"I know that this year, at the end of the year, people face new problems that have been almost unprecedented in recent decades in the history of our country and in many countries. The issue of coronavirus is almost not specific to a single country or region, and most countries around the world have been infected with the virus, and as our dear people know, it has put tremendous pressure on people's lifestyle, economy and commuting, their jobs and many activities that are somehow related to travel and commuting. So, we have to take this issue seriously today," he added.

"The first point I would like to make to the dear and honorable people of Iran is to take this issue seriously and not take the virus easily and consider it dangerous to the health of our families and us; nevertheless, scientifically and medically it is said to be not more dangerous than viruses like influenza, but due to the rapid spread of the virus, the disease has taken its place and has affected all countries around the world," Rouhani noted.

Iranian President went on to say, "What we need to do about this disease has almost a unified prescription that has been reached and emphasized around the world; one is that we must cut the chain of outbreaks that starts from one individual. How can be cut this chain? The first thing is disinfection; this chain may have continued until it reaches my body and hand, and if I wash my hands well and disinfect them -even with soap and water as recommended- the chain will be disconnected here and no longer use me to infect the second person."

"The second issue is refraining from travel and traffic; some people think that when we move from Tehran to another city it means traffic, but if we travel from northern Tehran to southern Tehran it would be okay. When we say traffic and travel are dangerous, we mean urban and interurban travel and they have the same effect and do not differ," he added.

Rouhani said, "Whether traveling from one province to another, traveling between cities within a province, traveling between cities and villages, or traveling from one large city to another, it is recommended that even these travels should be reduced to the minimum possible. Sometimes an emergency happens; then we all need to pay attention to the principles and protocols that are set in place; this is crucial for breaking the chain."

"We are approaching Nowruz holidays, and naturally, Nowruz is the official beginning of the year, Nowruz holidays are the beginning of spring, and some have suggested that the government eliminate the Nowruz holidays this year and postpone them to another season and time, but in my opinion, is not feasible. People have beliefs and traditions in Nowruz, and of course, they should manage the ceremony well this year so that they do not go to congregations and holy shrines which they believe in, and they have every right to," Iranian President noted.

"We can make a pilgrimage to any Imam from afar, and if it is sincere and attentive, he will accept it and it will have the same rewards, and perhaps in these special circumstances, it will be accepted. So, we should all be careful during Nowruz. Let us not make Nowruz a chance for the virus to spread further. Let it be a principle for us. Let us make Nowruz the time of victory against this virus," he added.

Rouhani said, "Here I want to tell our dear people, some of whom people think that only a single ministry called the Ministry of Health and Medical Education is involved in the fight against coronavirus, that the entire government is involved in this campaign. First, part of the government is trying to get people to live their normal lives. What does people's normal life mean? This means electricity, water, petrol, gas, and monetary issues. Our effort is focused on making people's lives, which is difficult, easier and more bearable."

"All ministers related to the economy and all authorities are involved in this; from the Head of Plan and Budget Organisation to the Vice President for Economic Affairs, Minister of Economy and the Governor of the Central Bank are all involved. All of our research and science departments are involved, namely the Vice Presidency for Technology, Ministry of Science, Ministry of Defence, and all departments that can work in different fields," the president added.

"There is no inactive individual in our government. Some spread propaganda that some officials like the President or the Minister of Interior have no responsibility and only the Minister of Health is in charge, carrying the heavy burden. Of course, there is a very heavy burden on his and his dear colleagues' shoulders, as well as all doctors, nurses, various hospitals, health, and medical centers," he said.

"We thank them again and thank the Supreme Leader for designating those who sacrifice their lives in this way and our medical staff as martyrs. They are at the forefront and this is a high place, but at the same time the armed forces, the army, the IRGC, the Basij and all are at work today. Our Armed Forces said they had 10,000 beds ready wherever there is a need for a hospital. They said they had 3500 beds available wherever we want and our governors-general are in touch with them now," Rouhani said.

"There is a very heavy burden on the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade, and that is the logistics and supply of these materials, as they have heavy responsibilities for keeping factories, the economy, and the country's production work. I want to say a special thank you to our municipalities for cleaning and disinfecting cities. This is a huge burden on their part and a huge help in defeating coronavirus," he added.

Iranian President noted, "Yesterday some of the governors-general I contacted said they had a concern; they said water consumption has risen and we might face trouble in the coming weeks. Yesterday, I officially asked the Minister of Energy and he responded by a written latter by that evening. Fortunately, people must not have any concerns about water and electricity should these days; no worries about energy and fuel, including gas, diesel, petrol, and other necessities."

"The Minister of Foreign Affairs is in charge of all the tasks related to foreign affairs and contacts with other countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is active in this regard. The education sector, though closed these days and will announce in the near future when their classes will start, has done its best to do the education through television and the IRIB. The Ministry of Interior has a very heavy responsibility, according to a recent Supreme National Security Council's decision, whatever the National Task Force for Fighting Coronavirus approves is the same as the decisions by the Supreme National Security Council, and is binding for all bodies and institutions, whether armed forces, public institutions, and even in some cases for the private sector," he added.

"Recently some friends wrote letters, some respected MPs and others, proposing to me to chair the task force. They should know that at least one meeting a week is chaired by me. If I could not attend a meeting, the First VP will be chairing the meeting and the task force itself will be holding the meetings regularly chaired by Dr. Namaki," Rouhani highlighted, adding, "The Minister of Road has a heavy responsibility; for road traffic, especially the traffic between Iran and the neighboring countries, the traffic on the flights, the train."

"Another point I would like to make is that we are aware that some parts of society are under economic pressure; there are jobs that are mostly new-year's-eve businesses; In this regard, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Plan and Budget Organisation, and the Vice-President for Economic Affairs are responsible for it. Another point I should emphasize in this regard is that we should not pay attention to the rumors these days; these are sometimes in social media and sometimes enter the domestic media and newspapers. Let's not let the rumors ruin the spirits of resistance, disturb people and spread fear and anxiety," he said.

Rouhani continued, "The last point is that this fight against coronavirus has two parts or two wings. One wing is what the Ministry of Health, the government and various parts of the government are doing and trying to do, and part of it is about people working together, and if our dear people do not cooperate, it will take more time to reach the goal. At the same time, however, we must still minimize traffic within and between cities and stay at home, which is the safest place where we can better protect ourselves and our family members."

"Dear and honorable people of our country; we are having a difficult time, but we will leave these days behind us. Difficult days when the winter is cold will bring spring afterward," Iranian President said.

MNA/President.ir

News Code 156609

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