1107 GMT April 21, 2021
Iran has announced bans on flights to and from 32 countries, including Britain and other states in Africa and Latin America, to stem the spread of the coronavirus, as the country has been facing an increase in the number of new cases in recent days.
Spokesman for the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said that in line with the decisions made by the country’s National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus, Iran will not accept passengers from high-risk countries in order to prevent the spread of the virus, Mehr News Agency reported.
The death toll from the coronavirus in Iran surpassed 60,000 on Sunday, after 93 people lost their lives to the virus in 24 hours, according to IRNA.
The death toll has declined in Iran as movement restrictions in the country have been imposed since November, including inter-city travel bans, mask mandates and school closures.
The Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari put the total death toll at 60,073.
Lari also said that 8,010 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of new cases to 1,631,169.
She also noted that at least 1,393,125 patients have recovered from the coronavirus so far or have been discharged from hospitals across the country.
Several provinces in the country have reported an increase in new positive cases, especially the southwestern province of Khuzestan, in which 11 cities are classified as “red” – the highest category in the country’s color-coded risk scale.
Iran’s vaccine drive recently has gotten underway, with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine administered to health workers this month. An additional 250,000 doses of the Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical Sinopharm, donated by Beijing, arrived in Iran in the early hours of Sunday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, in a Twitter message on Sunday, expressed appreciation to China for the donation of vaccines, describing China’s move as a new symbol of the friendship between the two nations, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.
Iranian scientists have already developed two coronavirus vaccines.
Iran’s CovIran Barekat, the country’s first domestically-developed COVID-19 vaccine, has shown 90-percent effectiveness, as confirmed by the first phase of human trials of the inoculation.
The second COVID-19 vaccine is a product of the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute.