Health minister urges need to suspend Moscow flights to curb virus

June 20, 2021 - 16:16

TEHRAN – Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki has emphasized the need to halt all flights to and from Moscow to prevent the spread of the so-called “Moscow strain” of coronavirus, IRNA reported on Sunday.

In a letter to Alireza Raeisi, the spokesman for the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control, Namaki stressed the need to raise the issue and take immediate decisions to suspend flights to and from Moscow.

Flights to Moscow will be suspended if the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control decides.

A few days ago, Russia’s Gamaleya National Center scientists claimed to have identified a new variant of the coronavirus, naming it after the national capital since the strain was first found in Moscow as cases across the country spiked.

Russia has witnessed a spurt in COVID-19 cases, 89.3 percent of whom were infected with the delta virus, known as the Indian coronavirus.

So far, the country has reported 5,193,964 new cases and over 126,000 fatalities; the highest number of cases and deaths were from Moscow.

“A new mutation has arrived, a new strain is active. It's more aggressive, it's harder to recover from, it spreads faster. It's much more likely to penetrate a person's immune system,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, according to the RIA news agency.

Iran Civil Aviation Organization announced on April 28 that the country has extended travel restrictions on flights to and from 15 countries due to a surge in the coronavirus disease.

The Islamic Republic has banned flights to India, Pakistan, France, Botswana, Brazil, Czech Republic, Iraq, Estonia, Ireland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Slovakia, South Africa, and Zambia aimed to curb the disease, according to the announcement.

Iranian citizens without a negative coronavirus PCR test result are subject to medical screening and quarantine for 14 days at their own expense, while non-Iranian nationalities without the certificate are not allowed to enter the country.

All passengers are subject to the medical screening on arrival, and if they are suspected of having the disease, non-Iranian nationalities will be quarantined at a place specified by the Health Ministry at their own expense and Iranian citizens will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

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