Iran: COVID-19 Travel Curbs Reimposed on Five Major Cities

Iran: COVID-19 Travel Curbs Reimposed on Five Major Cities Iran: COVID-19 Travel Curbs Reimposed on Five Major Cities

Iran restored travel restrictions to and from five of its largest cities in a bid to slow the spread of the third wave of the coronavirus epidemic, as daily deaths and infections continue to set new records.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced on Wednesday that travel to and from Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, Mashhad and Urmia have been restricted for the next three days, IRNA reported.
Pointing to a letter he wrote to President Hassan Rouhani, Namaki said, “I have asked the president to impose travel restriction on five key cities with highest transmission rates; he immediately agreed.”
Both overnight coronavirus infections and deaths set new records on Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.
Lari confirmed that 4,830 new cases have been registered, surpassing a previous high of 4,390 and fatalities reaching 279, breaking its record by seven.
The new daily counts pushed the tally of cases past 513,000 and deaths past 29,349, she added.
According to the spokesman, travel restrictions to and from the five cities could expand to other cities and provinces, if the Covid-19 pandemic were to persist.
“The stringent measures will be implemented midnight Wednesday until noon on Sunday,” Kianoush Jahanpour, the head of the Health Ministry’s Public Relations Office, said.
The restrictions announced by Namaki are confined to inter-city travel but Jahanpour urged people to minimize movements inside cities as well to reduce chances of virus spread.
Saturday is a national holiday commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Reza [PBUH], the eighth Shia Imam, when thousands travel to Mashhad to visit his shrine and pay respect. 
To curb the viral outbreak, Iran is handing out fines to those who breach coronavirus regulations and it is closing down private businesses that refuse to adhere to health protocols.


Virus Mutation

On the sidelines of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Namaki told reporters that the coronavirus has mutated, accelerating the speed of transmission. 
“Although it is not clear if the disease is now more severe,” he explained, “we know that the speed of transmission and the number of infections has increased.”
The minister said the sharp rise has “raised alarm” across the country. 
“Some 4,610 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition and 415,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness,” Lari added. 
Iran has administered 4.39 million diagnostic tests since the start of the outbreak.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus throughout the world rose to 38.4 million and the death toll topped 1.09 million. 

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