April 25, 2020 / 11:13 AM / a month ago

Rouhani says Iran should assume worst-case coronavirus scenario

A man wears a face mask and a protective face shield as he checks a woman's temperature, to let her go inside the mall, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), after shopping malls and bazaars reopened in Tehran, Iran, April 20, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran should draw up economic plans based on a worst-case scenario of nearly a year of disruptions due to the coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, as the death toll from the disease rose by 76 to 5,650.

“Our first request is that we should plan production long-term based on a pessimistic view that we might face this virus ... for months,” Rouhani said in a meeting with heads of Iranian private companies carried live on state TV.

“Maybe (we will face this) till the end of the year, we do not know,” Rouhani added, referring to the Iranian calendar year which ends in March 2021.

Earlier, a Health Ministry spokesman said the total number of people diagnosed with the virus had reached 89,328, of whom 3,096 were in a critical condition.

Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the country’s daily death toll had fallen by about 70% from its peak, while the number of coronavirus patients in hospital had fallen by about half.

Iran is one of the Middle Eastern countries worst affected by the COVID-19 respiratory disease and has one of the world’s highest death tolls.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Gareth Jones and Ros Russell

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