Iran says border closure with neighboring countries temporary amid virus spread
Iran Press TV
Monday, 24 February 2020 4:20 PM
The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry says closure of the country's borders with some neighboring states over a coronavirus outbreak is only a temporary measure and a result of the current emergency conditions.
"The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a state of emergency in some parts of the world and it is only natural that some measures must be taken collectively to counter the virus," Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.
"When the coronavirus was detected in our country, our neighbors also felt concern about the spread of the disease to their countries, which is natural, but this issue should not prevent popular exchanges or exports and imports among countries," he added.
The Iranian diplomat noted that the Iranian Foreign Ministry has held consultations with senior officials of the neighboring countries through embassies in order to assure them that "no suspicious cases will cross the borders."
The closure of the borders is unlikely to be permanent, the Iranian spokesperson said, adding, "This move is also among preventive and temporary measures taken by some countries."
A spokesman for Iran's Health Ministry said on Monday that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the country has reached 12, while the number of confirmed infections stands at 64.
"Currently, the situation has almost stabilized in the country, and we have managed to reduce the problem to the minimum," Iraj Harirchi said.
On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially instructed the Health Ministry to form a national headquarters tasked with containing the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Citing a report by the president's information center, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Rouhani had assigned the Iranian health minister to hold regular sessions at the headquarters and employ the entire potential of the ministry's affiliates to help preclude further spread of the deadly virus in a bid to eradicate the disease.
"Since all state bodies must strive toward prevention of the coronavirus disease, hereby, you are tasked with forming a headquarters called the 'National Headquarters for the Management of Coronavirus Disease'," Rouhani said in his edict to Health Minister Saeed Namaki.
Some countries in the region have closed their air and land borders to Iran as the deadly coronavirus continues its spread throughout the Islamic Republic.
Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Armenia, have closed their borders to the Islamic Republic. Other regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Georgia have also imposed travel and immigration restrictions.
Iran's other two neighbors, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, are reportedly intensifying border checks to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The outbreak began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Latest figures by the World Health Organization shows that it has killed more than 2,500 in China, where more than 77,000 have been infected.
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