Iran Turns Muslim Shrine Into COVID-19 Mask Factory

Story ByLee Bullen, Sub EditorJoseph Golder, AgencyNewsflash

These images show workers hard at work inside a famous religious shrine in Iran that has been converted into a production plant for COVID-19 face masks.

The Shah Cheragh funeral monument in the Iranian city of Shiraz has been turned into a face mask production facility as the government steps up measures to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to local media, women at the Shah Cheragh are producing face masks as the Iranian authorities look to produce around four million masks a day in the coming weeks.

Industry Minister Reza Rehman said: “All our productions are being handed over to the ministry of health and are being distributed under the supervision and control of the ministry.”

Meanwhile, the Iranian landmark has been closed to visitors for several weeks while it is being used to produce face masks.

The use of the religious site to fight the spread of COVID-19 is in contrast to previous stories of Iranians defiantly licking the gates and walls of sacred buildings as the authorities appeared to downplay the threat of the virus.

The country was criticised for refusing to close its shrines and religious sites with many accusing the Iranian authorities of triggering a wider outbreak across the Middle East.

According to local media, leaked documents suggest that several COVID-19 cases in the city of Qom were known as early as 31st January, and the government has since been accused of a cover up.

Iran president Hassan Rouhani said the first known case took place on 19th February and precautionary measures were delayed until after the legislative elections on 21st February, according to reports.

Several Iranian ministers, MPs and military generals were later diagnosed with the virus.

According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Iran has registered 60,500 cases of COVID-19 and 3,739 related deaths.

Meanwhile, 24,236 people have gone on to make full recoveries.

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