Iran's Rouhani raises prospect of compulsory wearing of face masks in public

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is considering making it mandatory to wear masks in public places and covered spaces within a few days, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to rise above 200,000.
"Mainly for crowded and covered areas ... we can make (masks) more or less mandatory in a week. But first, people should be provided with a lot of inexpensive masks," Rouhani said in the remarks broadcast by state television.
Daily mortality rates for most of this week have exceeded 100 for the first time in two months, an increase that officials attribute to lack of social detachment and low use of face masks.
The health ministry announced 115 deaths in the last 24 hours on Saturday, a total of 9,507. 2,322 new cases were reported, bringing the number to 202,584 in the most affected country in the Middle East.
Rouhani said that high-risk provinces will be able to place local restrictions on the virus, but that all decisions still have to be approved by the Ministry of Health and the president.
Six of Iran's 31 provinces are high-risk coronavirus areas, according to state media.

(Reporting from Dubai Newsroom)

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