PayvandNews – The thirteenth day of the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin is traditionally marked in Iran as Nature’s Day, or Sizdah Bedar as the day is known in Persian. The annual festival is an opportunity for people to picnic outdoors with family and friends and enjoy nature. But not this year! And the coronavirus pandemic is to blame. Iranian officials have instructed people to skip celebrating Nature’s Day and to continue staying home due to serious health threats from the new coronavirus.
Avesta Garden in Tehran blocked to visitors
(photo by ISNA)
In a report published by Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Dr. Alireza Zali, the head of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus in the capital, Tehran, advised all Iranians to stay home on Tuesday despite the arrival of Sizdah Bedar.
Sizdah Bedar has specific rituals and comes shortly after the Norooz (New Year) on the Persian calendar. It is the thirteenth day of the year. People celebrate the day by leaving houses, gathering outdoors, and picnicking with family and friends. It marks the end of the Norooz holidays.
Dr. Zali emphasized the importance of staying home in line with efforts to battle the pandemic, saying that by going outdoors, people “will not be celebrating” but will in fact be “welcoming death.”
He also stressed that stricter measures had been taken specifically for the day to ensure the safety of people and avoid the further spread of the virus.
A quiet Sizdah Bedar, Daneshjou Garden in Arak
(photo by ISNA)
All parks and recreational areas have been closed in Iran. Even vehicles parked besides parks will be fined. Inter-city trips have been banned and nonessential businesses must stay closed.
Dr. Zali highlighted the crucial role of social distancing and staying at home in fighting the virus and said that those who refuse to abide by the restrictions will face consequences.
He warned that if people did not cooperate, all efforts so far to rein in COVID-19 would be rendered useless and the country would be faced with a new bitter scenario that could last for two more weeks.
Normal Life Interrupted
The government says normal life may not return to the country until a cure or vaccine is found for Covid-19. It also says social distancing measures should remain in place well into the spring to help the national health system cope with the pandemic.
A quiet Tehran under “Stay at Home” order
(photo by Islamic Republic News Agency)
In the capital Tehran, public transport services have been reduced to minimum and government offices are manned by only one-third of the regular staff as part of efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
Those who ignore the restrictions and social distancing guidelines will be fined.
According to the World Health Organization, Iran has scaled up all elements of its response to the crisis and has improved coordination between government agencies and provincial bodies. It had also begun converting production capacity, including some military capacity, to producing personal protection gear and equipment to address shortfalls caused by US sanctions.
Iran’s New Covid-19 Tallies
Official Iran’s statistics on coronavirus as of April 1
New Cases: 2,987
In the 24 hours leading to Wednesday noon, 2,987 new infections and 138 more deaths were reported, according to Kianoush Jahanpour, Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman, bringing the total number of infections to 47,593 and deaths to 3,036. Some 15,473 patients have also now recovered from the disease.