“We must do everything” to reduce the number of deaths, Ayatollah Khamenei told the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus.
The Leader has, since the start of the pandemic, largely participated in meetings remotely via videoconference. But he joined the weekly meeting of the coronavirus task force in person, attended by President Hassan Rouhani, with members all masked and seated with safe spaces.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the government’s management of the pandemic is very important.
The prerequisite for proper management is “taking decisive governance decisions,” “convincing public opinion” and securing “cooperation of all institutions as well as the cooperation of the people,” he said.
“This cooperation, however, is not limited to countering the coronavirus; rather, it must exist in all issues, especially political issues, because the country, which has a new system and a new discourse, is naturally faced with major problems in the global and domestic arenas,” the Leader pointed out.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged “all organizations” to follow strictly the Health Ministry’s guidelines “regardless of other considerations.”
“Once the Ministry of Health has determined the instances of the restrictions, other bodies must comply with them, without taking into account any other considerations.”
He urged authorities to prioritize public health above any economic or security concerns.
The “basis and the priority in all decision-making is the health of the people,” the Leader said, noting that “an autumn resurgence of COVID-19 is occurring all over the world.”
“In some countries, such as the United States, the worst management has been applied. But we must try to pass this incident, which is related to people’s lives and health and their security and economy, with the best management,” he said.
He added that health officials “must ensure that infected people are identified and treated from the start” of their sickness.
Ayatollah Khamenei called for “the need to adopt severe penalties for those who commit major violations of health regulations” established by the Health Ministry in order to stop the pandemic.
Despite all these problems, “great work is underway in the country, and by God’s grace, no incident has been able to stop the Islamic Republic, but these obstacles, which are slowing down the momentum, must be removed as soon as possible,” he added.
The Leader praised the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus and its affiliated committees, calling the performance of the medical and health personnel “very brilliant” and their practice as “jihad in the way of Allah.”
He also touched on the living and employment conditions of some people which have become more difficult by the implementation of strict coronavirus regulations.
“In this regard, the government should consider support packages, while donors and other people should also enter the field and come to the aid of these people, because this is one of the best deeds and the best means of approaching God.”
Iran has been witnessing recent record highs in daily deaths from COVID-19.
The Health Ministry said the total number of victims rose on Sunday to 32,616, with 568,896 cases recorded.
Health Minister Saeid Namaki said in the meeting that the pandemic could only be controlled by enforcing tighter restrictions.
“We must curb the disease by enforcing regulations and tightening legal restrictions,” he said.
AFP, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.