Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the government will employ new protective measures to help people and businesses suffering from the coronavirus spread and contain the contagion.
Speaking at a meeting of the Economic Committee of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus on Thursday, Rouhani added given that a number of the country’s production and service agencies have been harmed by the new coronavirus outbreak, they will be provided with low-interest loans.
He added as per the first decision made in today’s meeting, the loans will be offered to the harmed businesses only if they do not fire their employees.
The president said $17.8 billion have been allocated for the plan expected to be implemented by the Central Bank of Iran and in cooperation with other domestic banks.
He put at 12 percent the interest rate of the loans, saying their payment period is two years.
Rouhani noted that social distancing regulations will tighten in Iran within the next two weeks, expressing hope that the country could break chain of the coronavirus spread by April 8.
He said $1.19 billion will also be allocated for employer-provided insurance in the next three months.
Rouhani stressed that the domestic health and treatment sector also needs a bigger budget, which, in addition to the money needed for unemployment insurance, would amount to $1 billion.
The president said, “To withdraw the money from the National Development Fund, we sent a letter to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei today. We need the budget to equip our hospitals and afford the health and treatment costs.”
Addressing the country’s people, he highlighted that the government attaches great importance to both protecting their health and boosting the domestic production and economy.
“The financial resources of the country are sufficient for meeting the people’s basic needs. Although we have been under pressure by sanctions, we are in a far better situation compared to a large number of other countries that, in addition to not being sanctioned, are members of the unions that have abundant resources.”
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran. Mainly targeting Iran’s oil revenues, the sanctions have also impeded delivery of drugs, medical equipment and humanitarian aid to Iran while the country is in a fight against the coronavirus spread.
Iran has so far managed to tread the path toward curbing the coronavirus spread honorably, Rouhani added.
The coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year and is currently affecting a large number of countries and territories across the globe. It has infected and killed people in a large number of the countries.
On Thursday, Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the infections have reached 29,406 in the country.
With 157 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the toll has reached 2,234, he added, regretting that 2,389 new cases have been identified in the past 24 hours. Jahanpour put the number of the recovered patients at 10,457.
He said close to 51 million people across the country have so far been screened for the coronavirus symptoms.