An intercity travel ban has now entered into force in Iran as the Middle East’s worst-hit country fears another wave of coronavirus cases, with violators facing legal repercussions.
Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran’s national HQ for tackling coronavirus, said that those travelling for Iranian New Year celebrations should “immediately return to their cities without making any stop in the cities on their way back home.”
Iran has already shut down schools, universities, and suspended gatherings, but after largely unsuccessful measures, the government revealed that it would bring in harsher restrictions.
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Government spokesman Ali Rabii announced that “new journeys will be banned, leaving towns and cities will be banned.”
He also claimed, according to state TV, that Iranians who ignored official advice and travelled for Persian New Year celebrations could “cause a second wave of the coronavirus.”
“All the new trips between cities are banned and violators will be confronted legally,” Rabii added.
Iran has 27,017 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, with 2,077 deaths.
Despite being one of the worst hit countries, Iran continues to have sanctions applied to it by the US, which Tehran says is devastating the economy and healthcare sector.
The US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran on March 17 as the virus was already wreaking havoc inside the country.
The UN secretary-general recently called for the US to roll back sanctions to help the country deal with the pandemic, calling for “solidarity not exclusion.”
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that US sanctions do not target imports of food, medicine, or other humanitarian goods, something Iran disputes.
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