Iran implements intercity travel ban to curb rise in coronavirus cases

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Dubai: Iranian officials said at a televised press conference on Thursday that Iran has issued a long-distance travel ban as part of its latest action against the spread of the corona virus.

The move comes the day after an Iranian government spokesperson warned the country that it may face a wave of pandemic cases of coronavirus.

Officials have complained that many Iranians have ignored calls to stay at home and canceled plans for Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.

The outbreak killed 2,234 people in Iran and 29,406 cases of the virus have been reported so far.

“Those who have travelled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stops in other cities on their way back home,” said Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran’s national headquarters for fighting the coronavirus.

The authorities have called on Iranians to avoid public places and to stay at home, while schools, universities, cultural and sports centers are temporarily closed.

“The closure of universities and schools as well as suspension of gatherings has been extended,” Zolfaghari said, adding that violators of the measures will face legal consequences.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will curb the spread of the virus within two weeks, adding that further steps have been taken to reduce the economic impact of the epidemic on low-income citizens.

“We will send a letter to Iran’s supreme leader today to seek permission on withdrawal of $1 billion from Iran’s sovereign wealth fund,” Rouhani said in a meeting, broadcast live on state TV.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say in all national affairs.

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