Iran says virus infections show ‘gradual’ decline Apr 07, 2020 0 1321 12345 AFPTehranThe trajectory of coronavirus infections in Iran appears to have started a “gradual” downward trend, the government said Monday, but it warned the disease is far from being under control.The COVID-19 outbreak claimed 136 lives in the past 24 hours, bringing Iran’s overall death toll to 3,739, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference.Iran registered 2,274 new cases of infection over the same period, he said, putting the total number at 60,500 across the country.The figure shows a drop in officially reported new cases of the novel coronavirus for the sixth consecutive day after a peak of 3,111 reached on March 31. Tehran announced its first COVID-19 cases on February 19, when it said two people died from the illness. Iran is by far the country most affected by the pandemic in the Middle East, according to official tolls released by each state.“Due to the intensification of the social distancing policy, we have seen a gradual and slow decline in the number of new cases in recent days,” Jahanpour said.President Hassan Rouhani repeated calls for people to stay at home as he warned Iran could be “put back in a difficult situation” unless people follow guidelines.Jahanpour reiterated this, saying: “I hope that the strongest possible adherence to these instructions... will allow us to enter a phase of disease control and containment.”In an attempt to limit the spread of the disease, authorities have not confined the population but have adopted other restrictions such as closing most businesses deemed non-essential. Rouhani announced on Sunday that the authorities had given the go-ahead for the resumption of certain economic activities “step by step” from April 11.Since the end of the Persian New Year holidays on Saturday, the authorities and many Iranians have expressed concern about the negative impact of the disease spreading further, especially in Tehran. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES DR Congo confines, disinfects business district to fight virus Apr 07, 2020 0 420 Syria, allies likely targeted civilian sites in rebel stronghold: UN Apr 07, 2020 0 375 Mosque converted into mask factory in virus-hit Iran Apr 07, 2020 0 169 Rockets land near US oil company Halliburton in Iraq’s Basra Basra: Rockets landed on Monday near the US oil field service company Halliburton in Iraq’s southern city of Basra, causing no casualties or damage, the Iraqi military said. The military said security forces were .. Rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail AFP Dubai Two international rights groups on Monday condemned an attack on a prison in Yemen’s besieged city of Taez that left six women and a child dead. The internationally-recognised government has accused .. Erdogan says two pandemic hospitals to be built in Istanbul AFP Istanbul Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday two hospitals each with a 1,000 bed capacity, will be built in Istanbul -- the epicentre of coronavirus cases in the country -- to treat infected .. WHO slams ‘racist’ calls for Africa to be vaccine testing ground Geneva: The World Health Organization chief angrily slammed recent comments made by scientists suggesting a vaccine for the new coronavirus should be tested in Africa as “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial .. Zimbabwe police accused of media assault amid lockdown AFP Harare An African media watchdog charged Monday that Zimbabwean police had assaulted a journalist and forced him to delete pictures of them enforcing a COVID-19 lockdown. Freelance journalist Panashe Makufa “was .. Syrian refugee in Lebanon sets himself alight amid economic crisis Beirut: A Syrian man set himself on fire in eastern Lebanon over the weekend, apparently in protest at the lack of work available as a consequence of measures introduced to quell the spread of the new coronavirus. .. Security forces teargas Sudanese ignoring COVID-19 mass assembly ban Khartoum: Hundreds of Sudanese celebrating the country’s first anniversary of the ouster of long-term ruler Omar al-Bashir in the streets of the capital Khartoum were Monday teargassed by security forces as part of .. Northern Mali attack leaves 20 soldiers dead AFP Bamako Around 20 Malian soldiers were killed on Monday in an apparent jihadist attack, officials said, in the latest bout of violence to hit the war-torn West African state. Early Monday morning, militants attacked a ..