Middle East Online

Fears of second wave of coronavirus in Iran

Iran started an intercity travel ban on Thursday, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference, amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.

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

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

Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said gatherings would also be restricted during Sizdah Bedar on April 1, a nature festival during which Iranians traditionally have picnics outdoors.

Authorities announced Iran’s first infections and two deaths from the virus on February 19. Iranian officials, including Rouhani, have repeatedly dismissed concerns raised by many Iranians about the government’s handling of the outbreak, saying all necessary measures to overcome the crisis have been taken. Source