Iran dispatches passenger ship to Sharjah to bring compatriots home 

February 29, 2020 - 15:47

TEHRAN - The managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organization announced on Saturday that a large passenger ship was sent on Friday to the port city of Sharjah to bring back the Iranian tourists. 

On Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) suspended flights from and to Tehran over coronavirus outbreak in Iran. 

“To bring back the Iranian passengers from the Persian Gulf littoral states, we sent a passenger ship with 550 seats capacity to Sharjah on Friday as the first step,” Mohammad Rastad told the IRIB news agency. 

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi announced that his country was paving the way for the Iranian nationals residing in the UAE to return home from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. 

“The Foreign Ministry and its representatives in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been continuously in contact with Iran Civil Aviation Organization’s officials, the United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry and the Emirates embassy in Tehran to gain flight permit for the country’s airliners,” Mousavi told reporters after the UAE unilaterally and surprisingly halted flights to and from Tehran. 

“According to the latest information, a basic agreement has been reached for issuing flight permit and the flights will be carried out soon,” he added. 

Mousavi underlined, “We use all our capacities to return our compatriots to home.”

According to Al Jazeera, the UAE suspended all flights to and from Iran for at least a week on Tuesday over the outbreak of the new coronavirus after its spread was announced across multiple Middle East nations.

The UAE, home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, remains a key international transit route for Iran's 80 million people.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority made the announcement on Tuesday via the country's state-run WAM news agency, just hours after Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, said there would be restrictions on flights there.

"All passenger and cargo aircraft travelling to and from Iran will be suspended for a period of one week, and could be up for extension," the authority said.

"The decision is a precautionary measure undertaken by the UAE to ensure strict monitoring and prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus."

Emirates, the government-owned carrier based in Dubai, flies daily to Tehran. Its low-cost sister airline, FlyDubai, flies to multiple Iranian cities, as does the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia.

The virus first emerged in China last year and is now spreading in Europe and across the Middle East, sparking fears of a global pandemic. The virus is spreading rapidly in the region, with cases recorded in many countries. 

The Iranian authorities have ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural events in a bid to contain the outbreak. This is while free masks are being distributed among the people, with priority given to cities that have reported coronavirus cases.

According to the latest data, totally 593 Iranian nationals have been infected by the virus, out of which 43 patients have lost their lives.

According to the Health Ministry, general health condition of a sum of 73 infected patients grew better.

The virus has affected 24 provinces of the country.

MJ/PA

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