Iran calls off Noruz celebrations amid coronavirus threat

March 11, 2020 - 18:54

TEHRAN – Iran’s tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan announced on Tuesday that no official celebrations or public gatherings, even the pre-scheduled ones, will be held during the new year Noruz holidays (starting March 20 this year) in a bid to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

“Working hours for museums and cultural-historical sites should be minimized,” he added, CHTN reported.

He went on to say that Noruz celebrations will be cancelled in all 31 provinces across the country, adding all museums (and historical sites that are affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts) should be closed during the holidays.

That is while Mounesan’s deputy for cultural heritage, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, had announced on Monday that some major museums and historical places in Tehran will be open during Noruz.

Earlier this month, Mounesan asked the nation to postpone or reschedule tours so as to help the tourism industry over the virus outbreak. “My suggestion to my dear people is that they do not cancel their hotel reservations and domestic tours as far as possible in order to help the tourism industry and prevent it from bankruptcy by making their reservations in time after virus is controlled.”

Deputy health minister Kianoush Jahanpour said on Wednesday that at least 9,000 people have so far been infected with the virus in the country. Of the total figure, 2,959 have recovered and 354 have died.

AFM/MG

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