Iran to reopen many mosques as 47 more die of coronavirus May 04, 2020 0 1510 12345 AFPTehranIranian President Hassan Rouhani said mosques would reopen across large parts of the country Monday, as officials reported a drop in the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus.Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 47 people died of the virus over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily count in 55 days.He told a news conference he hoped “the trend will continue in the upcoming days”.His remarks came as President Hassan Rouhani said 132 counties, around one third of the country’s administrative divisions, would “reopen their mosques as of tomorrow”.“Social distancing is more important than collective prayer,” he said in a televised meeting of the country’s virus taskforce.The president argued that Islam considers safety obligatory, while praying in mosques is only “recommended”.Rouhani did not give the names of the counties affected by the measure or the number of mosques due to reopen on Monday.The measure is not expected to be implemented in the capital, Tehran, or in the main Shiite holy cities of Mashhad which are among those most affected by the outbreak.Mosques and some key Shiite shrines in Iran were closed in March amid the Middle East’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.The targeted counties are “low-risk”, Rouhani said.The virus taskforce was also mulling reopening schools by May 16 to allow for a month of classes before the summer break.According to Jahanpour, the 47 new deaths brought to 6,203 the total number officially recorded in Iran since it reported its first cases in mid-February.He added that 976 fresh infection cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 97,424.Over 78,420 of those hospitalised have since been discharged, while 2,690 are still in critical condition.Experts and officials both in Iran and abroad have cast doubts over the country’s COVID-19 figures, saying the real number of cases could be much higher than reported.Rouhani claimed hospital visits over potential infections were “much lower” compared to recent weeks.He said it is due to “83 percent of people on average observing health protocols” and thanked Iranians for their “cooperation”.Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Sunday announced they were cancelling the annual day of protests against Israel known as Qods (Jerusalam) Day seemingly over the coronavirus pandemic. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Palestinian labourers back working in Israel as virus slows May 04, 2020 0 379 Conflict-ridden Guinea in uphill struggle against COVID-19 May 04, 2020 0 401 Togo’s president inaugurated despite Covid-19 fears May 04, 2020 0 130 Syria tycoon alleges pressure to step back from business AFP Beirut Syria’s most notorious tycoon has accused security forces of detaining his employees to pressure him into distancing himself from his businesses, amid rumours of tensions with the president. Rami Makhlouf .. Egyptian security forces kill scores of militants in Sinai DPA Cairo Egyptian security forces said on Sunday that they had killed scores of militants in the restive Sinai region, where an Islamist insurgency is ongoing. In a statement released on Sunday, spokesman for the Armed .. Ivory Coast’s prime minister evacuated to France for medical check-up Abidjan Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly has been evacuated to France, officials in the West African nation confirmed on Sunday. Secretary General of the Presidency Patrick Achi would not be drawn on .. Health minister uneasy as Tunisia prepares to ease lockdown DPA Tunis Tunisian Health Minister Abdellatif El Mekki voiced his concerns on Sunday as the North African country prepared to loosen restrictions in place to limit an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Tunisia is due on .. Afghanistan blame Iran after migrant drownings at border Kabul Afghan officials hit out at Iran on Sunday, blaming its border forces for the drownings of up to 38 Afghan migrants who had been seeking to enter the country. Iranian officials are accused of forcing around 50 .. Turkey extends travel restrictions for 31 cities and provinces DPA Istanbul Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Sunday extended travel restrictions for 31 cities and provinces across the country for a further day. Travel restrictions will now remain in place until midnight on Monday, .. Tanzanian president orders unproven Covid-19 remedy from Madagascar Dar es Salaam Tanzania’s president says he has placed an order for a herbal treatment for the coronavirus touted by the president of Madagascar. “I have already written to Madagascar’s president and we will soon dispatch ..