After registering the highest single-day death toll, Iran’s military will reportedly clear the streets within 24 hours to contain the novel coronavirus. The reports emerged after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordered armed forces to establish ‘health and treatment base’, suggesting the coronavirus crisis as a “biological attack”.
Khamenei wrote to Major General Bagheri appreciating the role of armed forces in combating the coronavirus crisis and emphasised the need for organising the services of the military in the form of Health and Treatment Base. The Supreme Leader said that the division of duties and missions of the Armed Forces is one of the tasks of this Base and it must work in full coordination with the government and the Ministry of Health.
“This measure may also be regarded as a biological defence exercise and add to our national sovereignty and power given the evidence that suggests the likelihood of this being a ‘biological attack’,” wrote Khamenei.
Iran has reported 85 deaths due to COVID-19 within 24 hours taking the overall toll to 514. Iran’s Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised address that at least 1,289 new cases of coronavirus across the country have been confirmed, bringing the total to 11,364.
Iran has recorded the second-highest number of deaths outside China and has sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Iranian Foreign Minister took to Twitter on March 12 to reiterate Tehran’s demand for financial assistance from the IMF which has not lent it any money since 1962.
IMF's @KGeorgieva has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 12, 2020
IMF/IMF Board should adhere to Fund's mandate, stand on right side of history & act responsibly.
Earlier, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva had assured that the financial institution is ready to respond to the threat of coronavirus including $50 billion of financial support. She said that the IMF has rapid-disbursing emergency financing of up to $10 billion for low-income countries that can be accessed without a full-fledged IMF program.
(With agency inputs)