Coronavirus Task Force's key decisions on the time and form of business activities, offices, schools and higher education centres

The President announced that in the framework of the Smart Distancing Programme, medium and low-risk businesses in provinces around the country can start their activities from April 11 with strict observance of health protocols, but high-risk businesses will remain closed by April 19.

Sun 05 - April 2020 - 12:37

Parts of Dr Rouhani's remarks at the National Task Force for Fighting Coronavirus is as follows:

In the name of God

Congratulations on the holy days of Sha'ban, especially since in the coming days we have the birthday of Imam Mahdi (AS), Day of the Young, which is today, and Health Day, which is tomorrow.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before I begin announcing today's decisions. The first point is that in the process we are currently facing and the issue of fighting and confronting coronavirus, there is no difference of opinion between government agencies. 

First of all, there is no difference of opinion between the three branches, and we are all working together and with the armed forces.

All bodies of the country are cooperating, and the Supreme Leader has supported us everywhere; wherever we needed him and sent a letter, he has supported us. 

Coronavirus has had good effects despite all the troubles it has created for us, and one of its good effects is this greater unity of the society, the government, the people, the forces and the top bodies of the country, among all of which we see unity, cohesion and steadfastness throughout the country today.

There have also been reports of healthy and clean air due to reduced traffic, which is one of the effects of coronavirus. But we have no difference of opinions, neither between the Ministry of Industries and Ministry of Health, nor among other ministries.

Contrary to the ill-wishers and anti-revolutionaries who invite people to choose between health and economic activity, this is also completely rejected, wrong and incorrect. Both economic activity and health protocols can be implemented together.

Today we discussed a new programme, which is Smart Distancing. The main topic of our discussion today was in this regard. A work group had discussed the issue at the Interior Ministry over the past few days, and the Social and Security Committee of the Task Force had a meeting, and this programme was presented at the meeting.

The request of this committee, as well as the request of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, and economic experts and guilds were presented at the meeting and were considered and approved by all members of the meeting.

The committee's proposal was approved, and it was decided that from April 11, the country's provinces can start businesses; this was about medium and low-risk businesses, but high-risk businesses are still banned until the April 19, for which decision will be made later. So risky businesses like sports centres and activities that require a large population are still banned until further notice.

Regarding low-risk businesses, it was decided that they can start their activities in the provinces from Saturday, April 11, by observing the protocols announced by the Ministry of Health.

Protocols have been posted on the website and they must be monitored. The guilds themselves must monitor, the unions must be active and monitor, and of course the main responsibility for this monitoring lies with the Ministry of Health.

 However, in Tehran province, this activity will start on Saturday, April 18, and the same health protocols as well as monitoring in this regard must be done carefully.

We asked the advertising committee to prepare plans in this regard and to explain to the people on the radio and television the information that should be given to them.

Starting these activities does not mean that we have violated or forgotten the principle of staying at home, and again those who do not need to be present on the street and in society, are preferred to look after themselves and stay home.

Today, we decided to use a step-by-step process to reopen the activities, and it was the suggestion of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education that the activities should begin gradually.

Regarding government offices that are currently active, from next week, April 11, their activities will continue with two thirds of their personnel at work and one third will be allowed to stay at home, which will be decided about shifts.

A third of the workforce should stay at home unless it is necessary, and here older people and people with fundamental illnesses are emphasised and prioritised.

 Needless to say, I won't emphasise again that anyone who has COVID-19 is banned from going to the society, work and gatherings, and must be quarantined at home, in a sanatorium or hospital.

We have to bear this in mind, and Dr Namaki must announce it clearly and decisively that every laboratory that reaches a positive conclusion about somebody's coronavirus test is obliged to inform himself, his workplace, and his family.

15 to 20 percent may have a problem that needs to be referred to a doctor, some of whom may not need to be hospitalised, and some may need to be treatedt.

Regarding the office working hours, we also approved that from April 11, all those who are working in offices, whether in Tehran of other provinces, will be 7 am to 2 pm.

Especially because we are approaching the month of Ramadan, this office hours are better for that month as well. Because we do not have lunch before Ramadan, we do not have congregational prayers now, so the work will continue until 2 pm, and people will go to their homes at 2 pm. As a rule, during Ramadan, if our conditions are the same, we will still not have congregational prayers. Therefore, office hours will be from 7 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.

The next issue was the issue of transportation, which was discussed, two good pieces of news were given in this meeting; one good news was that all the goods that are necessary will be transported; whether from customs to cities, from centres to consumer centres or factories. 

Here, I would like to thank everyone who works in the transportation sector, all the dear drivers, all the transportation companies, all the buses, the trains and the planes, and all those who work hard.

The second point was that in these two months, when we had the coronavirus problem, none of the workers and people working in the transportation sector were laid off. That was good news.

Thank God, all of these people are eligible for receiving loans, which are conditional on the fact that no one has been fired. This was another good news.

However, regarding private cars that are free in the province and their activities are not prohibited, and between Tehran and Alborz provinces, which are considered one province because their activities are very much related, it was decided that this between-province travel prohibition will continue until April 18.

The last discussion we had was about schools and higher education, it is currently decided that in the education sector, with the exception of complementary education, from April 18, complementary training will be available, especially in the doctoral program, and then there may be other departments, but in the bachelor's and also schools, the decision is to close educational activities in schools and use the cyberspace by April 18.

Of course, we have given the authority to the Education Ministry that the provinces that can start working and we have white provinces in the southern part of the country where there are no problems for education. The provinces are Bushehr, Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchistan.

In addition, the way this virus works is not 100% clear to us, that is, the Ministry of Health cannot answer us what the activity of this virus will be like in a month or two and the summer when the weather gets warm and there is nothing clear and definite. So we have to wait and follow all the health principles to see how it will be in the coming months.

Of course, I said about the holy places and emphasised that these holy places are currently closed as before until April 19 and what will happen after April 18 is a decision that we will make in the next meetings and we will inform our dear friends and brothers about the meeting in advance.

Thank you very much

Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

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