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Iran Press TV

Iran orders quarantine measures for travelers from UK amid mutant virus reports

Iran Press TV

Monday, 21 December 2020 7:19 PM

Iran has ordered quarantine measures affecting travelers who arrived from the United Kingdom over the past two weeks amid reports that a new variant of the coronavirus has been circulating in the European country.

Iran's health minister Saeed Namaki said on Monday that he had ordered UK travelers who reached Iran over the past two weeks to be confined to quarantine until results of their medical tests are known.

"All people who have arrived from England (UK) either directly or indirectly over the past two weeks should be screened and put under quarantine and strict control until the results of the related tests are known," said the minister in a decree to one of his deputies.

The decree came after Iran joined scores of countries around the world to ban flights to and from the UK just after scientists in the country announced on Friday that they have detected a new variant of the coronavirus that they believe could be much more infectious.

Iran's minister of transportation Mohammad Eslami also announced on Monday that a flight ban order affecting travels to and from the UK would persist for the next two weeks.

Eslami said, however, that arrivals from the UK mattered more as he sought to justify a statement by Iranian aviation authorities made earlier in the day showing that a flight to London from Tehran planned for Tuesday would go ahead as planned.

"The emphasis is on the arrival of passengers from England, they didn't report that no one should travel from Iran but (planes) should avoid bringing passengers from the UK on return flight," said Eslami.

Aviation authorities said many travelers from the UK normally use routes via Turkey to arrive in Iran, insisting that those arrivals would also be minimized because of a similar ban imposed in neighboring Turkey.

Iran has imposed a series of strict measures since late November to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections in the country.

Traffic curfews have been in place in the capital Tehran and many other cities for weeks while businesses have been confined to limited hours of daily activity to help control an outbreak that has claimed nearly 54,000 lives and affected more than 1.16 million people since it erupted in Iran in late February.

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