UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The death toll from the emerging corona virus in Iran rose to eight on Sunday, the highest toll outside China, prompting neighboring countries to close their borders with the Islamic Republic to contain the epidemic.
Turkey announced that it would close its borders with Iran “temporarily”, while Pakistan said it would close its borders with the Islamic Republic, and Afghanistan banned all land and air flights between the two countries.
The moves come amid growing regional concerns about the spread of the virus.
On Friday, Lebanon confirmed the first infection with the virus, which is a 45-year-old Lebanese woman who was visiting the Iranian city of Qom, while Israel imposed a quarantine on Sunday about 200 students because of their contact with South Korean tourists infected with the disease.
Iran announced on Sunday three new deaths from the “Covid-19” virus among 15 new cases during the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to eight and 43 to 43.
Four new infections appeared in Tehran, seven in the city of Qom, two cases in Ghilan, and one in central and Tonkapon, according to Ministry of Health spokesman Kyanosh Jahanpur.
The authorities have ordered the closure of schools, universities and other educational centers in 14 governorates across the country, starting from Sunday as a “precautionary measure.”
Cultural events, concerts and film shows were banned for a week. ”
The director of the University Hospital Center in Qom, Muhammad Reza Ghadeer, made a televised call for help. “We are on the front line and we need help. If I have to say something, I will say: Help Qom,” he said.
“Serious consequences” –
The Afghan National Security Council office said in a statement posted on Twitter that the decision to temporarily ban travel to Iran, including by land and air, was “taken” to prevent the spread of the Corona virus in Afghanistan “as no infection has been recorded so far.”
In Pakistan, a local official and border guard confirmed the closure of the land border with Iran.
Both Afghanistan and Pakistan share long, porous borders with Iran and are often used by smugglers and traffickers, while millions of Afghan refugees live in the Islamic Republic, raising concerns that the virus could spread easily across borders.
China, the epidemic center, recorded 97 other deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number to 2,442, in addition to 648 new infections. The number of infections worldwide reached about 80,000, the vast majority of them in China.
However, official figures indicate that the death rate from the disease is much higher in Iran compared to China relative to the population, with about 1 to five of the number of confirmed cases.
Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namki said that treating the virus cases would be free of charge.
“In every city, one hospital will be devoted to treating cases of Corona virus,” he said, adding that the number of hospitals will be greater in larger cities such as the capital.
But academics have expressed concern about the ability of Iran, which is currently suffering from a major economic crisis due to US sanctions, to contain the epidemic.
“It is unlikely that Iran will have the resources and facilities to properly identify and manage cases if the numbers of cases are large,” said Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia in Britain.
He also noted that “the situation in Iran leaves major repercussions for the Middle East,” which is witnessing multiple conflicts.
“During armed conflicts, the border between countries becomes full of holes … and health care facilities are often targeted and destroyed,” he said.
On Sunday, other countries in the region also took major preventive measures to counter the virus, which could spread from Iran.
The Jordanian government decided to prevent the entry of expatriates from China, Iran and South Korea into the territory of the Kingdom as a “temporary precautionary measure.”
The Jordanian Minister of State Amjad Al-Adayleh said in a statement that “additional precautionary measures against the new corona disease began to be applied today in light of the high number of cases of the disease in South Korea and Iran.”
And the Kuwaiti Ports Institution announced a ban on all ships from the Islamic Republic.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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