Iran set to close borders with Turkey to curb COVID-19

April 3, 2021 - 13:28

TEHRAN – The Iranian health minister has issued an order, restricting travels to and from Turkey for a week in a bid to help contain the new coronavirus variant.

In a letter to the interior minister, Health Minister Saeed Namaki stressed the need for closing air and land borders with the neighboring country for a week, IRNA reported on Saturday.

Considering the wide spread of the mutated coronavirus in Turkey, it is necessary to halt, by the next 48 hours, traveling via land and air borders to and from Turkey for a week, Namaki stressed.

“Iranian citizens who are in Turkey and intend to turn back to the country, as well as Turkish citizens who are in Iran, can leave the country observing the relevant protocols and doing PCR test to make sure no infection spreads,” he highlighted in the letter.

For Iranians entering the country from land and air borders, quarantine is also required for suspicious or positive cases, he stated.

To prevent the new strain of COVID-19, the ministries of health and transport implemented a plan with the goal of rapidly identifying and testing incoming passengers and keeping them in quarantine facilities, if necessary.

Thirty border checkpoints have been selected, including 18 land borders, nine air borders, and three sea borders, all incoming passengers will be tested and referred to the quarantine facilities in case of necessity.

Some 5,000 members of the Iranian Red Crescent Society cooperate for carrying out the plan; while around 8,000 individuals enter the country via borders on a daily basis, Karim Hemmati, head of IRCS said on March 26.

On February 22, the spokesman of Iran's Customs Administration Rouhollah Latifi said Iran has closed five crossing points with Iraq to prevent the spread of the UK variant of coronavirus, ISNA reported.

Border points of Kileh, Piranshahr, Chazzabeh, and Shalamcheh were closed to travelers, and on Tuesday Mehran border in the nearby province of Ilam will shut down, he added.

Iraqi nationals visiting Iran have worsened the coronavirus pandemic in the southwestern Khuzestan province, IRNA quoted the province’s governor-general, Qassem Soleimani-Dashtaki, as saying.

More than 300 Iraqi nationals cross Chazzabeh and Shalamcheh borders on a daily basis, he said, adding that the issue has contributed to a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

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