Iranian authorities announced on Thursday, March 26, that an intercity travel ban is being implemented in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide. Officials stated that many Iranians have not followed the stay-at-home policy and ban on travel over the Nowruz holiday and will therefore implement the ban starting Thursday. They added that a second outbreak is possible in the country, and citizens are therefore called upon to return to their home cities and remain there.
The suspension of schools and universities and closure of public spaces and sports centers has since been extended.
Shopping centers in the capital Tehran were initially closed on Sunday, March 22. Only pharmacies and shops that provide essential goods will be allowed to remain open. Educational institutions and libraries have been closed and cultural and sporting events have been suspended. Entry into the provinces of Golestan, Mazandaran, Guilan, Ardabil, Zanjan, Hamedan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, and Kerman is prohibited except for residents.
As of March 26, there are 27,017 confirmed COVID-19 case in Iran, including 9625 recoveries and 2077 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.