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Iran-Turkey flight route hit hard by coronavirus surge

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The new coronavirus surge causes a 95% drop in number of flights between Iran and Turkey.

Number of flights between Iran and Turkey has declined to record lows amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the two countries.

Iran’s civil aviation authority (CAO) said on Monday that flights between Iran and Turkey had dropped by 95% after the two neighbors agreed earlier this month to enforce strict screening measures on air travelers to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

CAO spokesman Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said, however, that demand for travel to Turkey from Iran had also declined in light of a ban imposed by Iran on chartered flights and tours operating on the Turkish route.

Zibakhsh said airports in Iran had processed only 12 flights to and from Turkey since Sunday, adding that the figure represents a tiny portion of the air travel capacity between the two countries.

That as the Iranian government has resisted calls for imposing a blanket ban on flights to and from Turkey.

The Iranian health ministry has designated passenger arrivals from western neighbors including Turkey as a potential source of infection with the so-called British variant of the coronavirus.

The variant has caused a fresh surge in number of coronavirus cases in Iran as health authorities has struggled to cope with higher rates of death and hospitalization in recent weeks.
Zibakhsh said that travelers arriving from Turkey should pass through strict screening measures, adding that all incoming passengers above eight will have to provide proof of negative PCR tests carried out within 96 hours before their arrival.

He said additional tests will be enforced on passengers coming from countries with high rates of coronavirus infections.

The Iranian health ministry said on Monday that the coronavirus had been responsible for 398 deaths reported across Iran over the past 24 hours.


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