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Neighbors shut borders with Iran over coronavirus fears

Neighbors shut borders with Iran over coronavirus fears
Death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran rises to 12 with 47 confirmed cases

By Davut Demircan

ANKARA (AA) - Iran's neighbors closed their borders to the country due to mounting concerns on the spread of the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, after over a dozen deaths were confirmed in Iran.

Iraq closed all its border crossings with Iran for three days following the deaths of two Iranians from the deadly virus on Feb. 20, but later extended its entry ban on Iranian travelers Monday for 15 additional days.

Iraq on Monday also closed its border crossing with Kuwait over fears of the new coronavirus.

Turkey also temporarily closed its border with Iran over the outbreak, its health minister announced on Sunday.

Speaking to press members in Istanbul, Fahrettin Koca said: "Based on the international health regulation, the road and rail transits from Iran to Turkey were temporarily halted as of 5 p.m. local time [1400GMT] on Sunday."

Ankara also temporarily and unilaterally halted all international arrival flights from Iran as of 8 p.m. local time [1700GMT], Koca said.

Afghanistan suspended all passenger movement to and from Iran to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the public, said Office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan on Sunday.

Pakistan and Armenia also shut their doors to Iran.

Georgia suspended all flights with Iran on coronavirus concerns on Friday.

Kuwait announced on Friday that it suspended travel to and from Iran in the wake of the deadly virus outbreak.

Earlier on Monday, Iran's state television announced that the death toll from the virus in the country rose to 12 with 47 confirmed cases.

Iranian lawmaker Ahmad Amiriabadi Farahani claimed at least 50 people died of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran's northern city of Qom over the past two weeks, local media reported Monday.

In a news conference aired by the state-run television network, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said the claims that 50 people died of the COVID-19 in Qom "are lies" and that "they do not reflect the truth."

The coronavirus has sounded global alarm with China reporting 2,592 deaths from the outbreak on Monday with over 77,000 confirmed cases.

Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

source: News Feed
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