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The New Arab Staff

Dozen Iranian footballers test positive for Covid-19

Coronavirus has hit Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 July, 2020

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Twelve Iranian football players from two seperate teams have tested positive for coronavirus.

Twelve Iranian football players from two separate teams have contracted the novel coronavirus, Tasnim News Agency reported on Saturday.

According to the report, six players each of Esteghlal and Foolad have tested positive for Covid-19, leading to the shutdown of both football teams.

Esteghlal's training was shut down on Saturday, one day before they were set to play against Pars Jonoubi in Bushehr.

The club's doctor Kaveh Sotoodeh has announced that several more players are awaiting test results after being suspected of contracting the virus.

Foolad club also announced that six players of the team have tested positive for Covid-19 as Iran continues to grapple with the effects of the virus.

According to new regulations set by the Iranian health authorities, if five players of one team contract the deadly illness, the team's matches will be cancelled.

Iran's football super league matches resumed last week after nearly four-month suspension over Covid-19 outbreak in the country in late February.

On Tuesday, the government announced that Iran's coronavirus epidemic is still in its first wave.

The Islamic republic has struggled to contain Covid-19 since it reported its first cases - two deaths - in the Shia holy city of Qom in late February.

Official figures have shown a rising trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.

But officials have repeatedly denied the upward trend amounts to a second wave.

Vaccine in making

Authorities have so far refrained from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the pandemic's spread and the use of masks and protective equipment has been optional in most areas.

Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.

The increasing virus caseload has seen some previously largely unscathed provinces classified as "red" - the highest level on Iran's colour-coded risk scale - with authorities allowed to reimpose restrictive measures if required.

They include Bushehr, Hormozgan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Khorasan Razavi, Kurdistan, and West and East Azerbaijan, all located along Iran's borders.

Iran has announced that wearing masks will be made mandatory in covered public spaces as of next week.

Authorities have for weeks been urging citizens to use protective equipment.

Iran's overall toll now stands at 11,408, with 237,878 confirmed infections since it reported its first cases in late February.

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