Iran to close borders with Iraq over risks of new COVID-19 variant

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TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — Iranian authorities announced that they will close borders with Iraq in the southwestern Khuzestan province over the transmission risks of new variant of COVID-19, Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on Thursday.

“From Saturday, Iran will close the borders of Shalamcheh and Chazzabeh for one week for passengers’ entrance,” the Khuzestan province governor, Qassem Soleimani Dashtaki, was quoted as saying.

During this time, the Iranian officials will try to set up facilities for rapid testing and temporary quarantine in the two border points, he said.

Iranian health authorities have warned of the rise of new wave of coronavirus in the country and have adopted particular protective measures in the Khuzestan province.

Iran’s health ministry reported 8,066 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the total nationwide infections to 1,550,142.

The pandemic has so far claimed 59,264 lives in Iran, up by 80 in the past 24 hours, said the health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari during her daily briefing.

Of the newly infected, 578 were hospitalized, said Lari.

A total of 1,324,231 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 3,679 remain in critical condition.

According to the spokeswoman, 10,274,529 tests for the virus have been carried out in Iran by Thursday. Enditem