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Iran Closes Schools, Takes Other Measures As Virus Toll Rises Further: 107 deaths, 3,513 infections

03/05/20

Source: RFE/RL

Iran has closed all schools and adopted a series of other new measures as it battles the worst outbreak of coronavirus outside of China. Health Minister Saeed Namaki told a news conference on March 5 that all schools and universities will remain closed until the end of the Iranian calendar year on March 20, and that checkpoints will be used to limit travel between major cities.


Official Iran's statistics on coronavirus as of March 4th
Infections: 3513
Deaths: 107
Recovered: 739

"People should not consider this as an opportunity to go travelling. They should stay home and take our warnings seriously," Saeed Namaki said at a televised press conference.

The moves come after authorities said the death toll in Iran from COVID-19, the illness sparked by the coronavirus had risen to 107, while the number of confirmed cases had reached 3,513.




Iranian police forces sanitizing city of Qom
(see more photos by ISNA)

The coronavirus has been found in almost all of Iran's provinces, President Hassan Rohani said on March 4, and many experts fear the real toll of both the dead and the infected could be much higher.

Friday Prayers in all provincial capitals this week have been canceled because of the outbreak.




People being screened for coronavirus in Orumiyeh, Iran
(see more photos by ISNA)

Namaki listed several measures that Iranians could take to help impede the spread of the coronavirus, including a reduction of the use of paper money.

He also said people should remain in their vehicles when filling up at the gas station and instead allow attendants to do the job.




Sanitization of the bazaar in city of Shiraz
(see more photos by ISNA)

In a sign of the growing nervousness across the region over the outbreak, Palestinian authorities on March 5 said the storied Nativity Church in the biblical city of Bethlehem, built atop the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, will close indefinitely.

There have been more than 3,740 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Middle East, many of which have links to Iran.

The outbreak has disrupted Islamic worship throughout the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia on March 4 banned its citizens and other residents of the kingdom from performing the pilgrimage in Mecca, which attracts millions of people each year.

The move expands a previous ban on foreigners visiting Mecca and Medina, home to the holiest sites in Islam.

COVID-19 has killed more than 3,000 people and infected tens of thousands more, mainly in China.

The disease has now spread to more than 60 other countries, leading to multiple travel and other restrictions.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda, AP, Reuters, and CNN



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