COVID-19: Heavy Traffic in Tehran as Iran allows some businesses to re-open

Islamic Republic of Iran has allowed some businesses in the capital and nearby towns to re-open Saturday after weeks of lockdown aimed at containing the worst COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the Middle East.

The Persian authorities were very slow to respond to the pandemic and held off on imposing widespread restrictions even after other countries in the region with far fewer cases forced most businesses to close.

Iran has reported more than 80,000 confirmed cases and over 5,000 deaths.

According to the re-opening guidelines, gyms, restaurants, shopping malls and Tehran's grand bazaar will remain closed. Shrines and mosques are also shuttered, and a ban on public gatherings remains in place.

Government offices have reopened with a third of employees working from home, and schools and universities are still closed.

Traffic was heavy in Tehran early Saturday, the first day of the work week. Authorities allowed businesses outside the capital to reopen a week ago.

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