Iran shuts Iraq border points till April 4 to stem the spread of Covid-19 variant

TEHRAN:Iran  has closed many crossing points with Iraq in an effort to stem the spread of a mutant variant of coronavirus which the Iranian health minister said was entering from the neighboring country.

Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, encounter a spike of new infections as 11 cities and towns in its south-western Khuzestan province were declared high-risk “red” zones, state media reported.

The border points between Iran and Iraq will be closed for passengers until April 4 in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a top government official said here The announcement was made on Wednesday by Hossein Qasemi, Director-General of Border Affairs of Iranian Interior Ministry, Xinhua news agency reported.

The decision was taken by the National Headquarters for Fighting Coronavirus following the request of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Qasemi told the media.

However, if there are Iranian nationals in Iraq who want to return, or if Iraqi nationals in Iran want to go back to their country, they can cross the border, he said. Also, border crossing for traders, contractors and engineering activities would be possible after necessary evaluations, he added.

Last week, Namaki reported Iran’s first three deaths from the new virus variant and warned that it was spreading and soon “may be found in any city, village or family” in a fourth wave of infections.

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