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Iran Asks For Loans, Int’l Aid As COVID-19 Cases Top 10,000

TEHRAN, March 13 — Three weeks after Iran declared its first cases of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, the infected cases, and death toll have continued to rise dramatically, reported Xinhua news agency.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Education on Thursday announced a total of 10,075 people across the country have been infected with COVID-19, of whom 429 people have died.

In the day, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that it has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a US$5-billion loan to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

Iran’s application for the loan came after IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva officially announced that the international community has asked the IMF to use its financial tools to help the countries affected by COVID-19 and to make available US$50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities to help.

Abdolnaser Hemmati, governor of the CBI, said Thursday that “according to IMF’s proclamation and considering the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus in the country and the necessity for measures to prevent and cure the disease and address its economic impacts, we ask for around US$5 billion from rapid-disbursing emergency financing, considering the Islamic Republic of Iran’s quota in the fund.”

Besides, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday called for more international contributions and outlined the Health Ministry’s urgent needs over the novel coronavirus.

“Iranian care personnel is courageously battling COVID-19 on the frontlines,” Zarif said on his Twitter account.

However, “their efforts are stymied by vast shortages caused by restrictions on our people’s access to medicine or equipment,” he stressed.

The Iranian foreign minister also listed the “most urgent needs” of the health ministry on his Twitter account.

In the meantime, Zarif called for the removal of US sanctions against the Islamic republic as the country is involved in fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday ordered the Iranian armed forces to form the “Health and Medical Headquarters” to enhance efforts fighting against COVID-19, Tasnim news agency reported.

In a decree to the Chief of Staff of Iran Armed Forces Hossein Baqeri, Khamenei said the contribution of the Iranian armed forces to the fight against COVID-19 should be organized under the “Health and Medical Headquarters … in full cooperation with the government and Ministry of Health and Medical Education.”

Source: BERNAMA

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