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Iran reopens major roads to travel, despite coronavirus outbreak

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Roads leading to resorts in Iran’s northern province of Mazandaran were reopened March 7 by government decision, despite repeated warnings over the spread of novel coronavirus.


Mazandaran, by the Caspian Sea, is one of the favorite destinations for domestic tourism.


Earlier on Thursday, the Governor of Mazandaran had declared that, as a precaution all roads leading to the province would be closed to tourists and non-residents of the region. But unexpectedly on Saturday the Deputy Governor of the province announced that since the Iranian weekend came to an end on Friday, access roads from other provinces will be open.


Nevertheless, according to the Islamic Republic's official news agency, IRNA, people from cities highly contaminated by coronavirus were hitching rides on trucks to travel to Mazandaran.


"People from cities highly hit by the novel coronavirus, including the holy city of Qom, escape from their homes, and travel on trucks to Mazandaran, in search of safe houses for short term rent," IRNA disclosed.


Seventeen people have died of Covid-19, and 658 are suspected of contracting coronavirus in Mazandaran, so far. However, residents of the province say on social media both the infection rate and the death toll is much higher than what the government says and hospitals cannot accept any more coronavirus cases.


"With so many people rushing toward Mazandaran, the region, particularly the city of Babol, is struggling with the complicated dilemma of how to contain the spread of the deadly virus," the representative of Babol to Majles (Islamic parliament), Ali Najafi Khoshroudi, lamented.

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