The Iranian president said on Sunday that the application of tough measures in the country to stem the spread of coronavirus was “not possible.” 

Speaking during a meeting of Iran’s anti-coronavirus task force in Tehran, Hassan Rouhani opted for a “moderate path” between a total lockdown and ending restrictions fully. 

He said the application of tough measures against the pandemic in Iran “leads to depression and anxiety in the society.”

The Iranian leader warned that the situation can turn “dangerous” if health protocols are not observed, adding that punitive measures would be taken against defaulters.

The graph of new virus cases and deaths in Iran has seen a slight downward tilt in recent days, with daily deaths sliding down the 200-mark after several weeks.

On Sunday, Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari announced 2,020 new virus infections and 163 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 326,712 cases and 18,427 deaths.

Rouhani, however, warned that the pandemic is likely to stay around for another six month or until the time a vaccine is developed.

A few weeks ago, citing a Health Ministry report, Rouhani had warned of a long haul, saying the second phase of the virus in Iran was likely to prolong until the end of Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2021).

According to that report, 25 million people in Iran have contracted COVID-19 in the past five months since its outbreak in mid-February, and another 30-35 million were likely to be affected in the coming months.

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