DUBAI: Iran on Saturday (May 23) moved to open businesses, religious and cultural sites as it eases restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Museums and historical sites are to reopen on Sunday to coincide with the Eid el-Fitr celebrations that end the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, President Hassan Rouhani said on state television.
Holy shrines — some of which became focal points of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran – will reopen Monday.
Rouhani had said last week that the shrines would open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Some areas of the shrines such as narrow corridors will stay shut.
All workers in the country will return to work next Saturday.
"We can say we have passed the three stages regarding the coronavirus," Rouhani said.
The fourth phase is containment in 10 of Iran's 31 provinces, where the situation is better and screening will intensify while infected patients will be separated from the rest of the population.
The president said last week that restaurants would reopen after Ramadan and sports activities would resume without spectators. Universities, but not medical schools, will reopen on Jun 6.
Rouhani said on Saturday that 88 per cent of the fatalities from COVID-19 in Iran were victims with underlying illnesses.
According to health ministry figures, more than than 7,000 have so far died from the pandemic in Iran and more than 130,000 have been infected.Read More – Source
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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