Eleven countries close air and land borders with Iran over coronavirus fears
Eleven countries across the Middle East have closed their air and land borders to Iran as the deadly coronavirus continues its spread throughout the Islamic Republic.
On Monday morning, Qatar Airways also announced that it would quarantine passengers arriving from Iran and South Korea for 14 days, even if they show no signs of the coronavirus.
An Iranian parliamentary representative said on Monday that the death toll had reached 50 in the country, according to the semi-official ILNA news agency. This figure places Iran as by far the most deadly epicenter for the virus outside of China, with South Korea as the next, reporting seven dead. A spokesman for Iran’s health ministry has since rejected the MP’s claim.
Iran’s other two neighbors, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, are reportedly intensifying border checks to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The Iranian outbreak has mostly been centered on the city of Qom. Parliamentary elections held on Friday may have helped to facilitate the spread of the virus as people went to the polls.
Iranian travelers who had contracted the virus have been confirmed in Kuwait, the UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Canada.
The speed of the spread has brought into question ability to detect the virus, with the three infected travelers from Iran who journeyed to Kuwait all originating from the city of Mashhad that has yet to report any confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Iranian protests break out over coronavirus handling
Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters in the northern city of Talesh over Iranian authorities handling of the coronavirus outbreak broke out on Sunday, according to videos shared on social media by activists.
Protesters gathered in front of the Noorani Hospital of Talesh country in Gilan Province, northern Iran, on Saturday night.
Videos being shared online also showed Iranian security forces firing tear gas at the protesters.