Iranian authorities restrict internal travel and release some 70,000 prisoners as the death toll from coronavirus disease rises, March 9.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 09 Mar 2020 18:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of March 9
  • Impact: Travel restrictions, businesses disruptions

Summary
Iranian authorities have restricted travel within the country, temporarily released some 70,000 prisoners, and urged citizens to reduce the use of paper banknotes in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 9. The new measures have been put in place as the death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 237. Schools and universities have been shut down until early April, and Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebrations will likely be canceled. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei canceled his Nowruz speech March 9.

Iran Air (IR) suspended all flights to and from Europe until further notice March 8.

Authorities have also suspended large religious gatherings throughout the country. Officials initially reported two confirmed imported cases of COVID-19 in the city of Qom Feb. 19. Several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, have banned travel to and from Iran. Further travel restrictions are likely as authorities detect additional new cases.

Advice
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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