Flydubai to continue operating flights to Iran despite coronavirus crisis

Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities have both banned travel to and from Iran, amid growing regional concerns

Dubai-based low-cost carrier Flydubai is continuing to schedule flights to and from Iran.

Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities have both banned travel to and from the country, amid growing regional concerns about the spread of the virus.

Iran has been scrambling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak since it announced the first two deaths in the holy city of Qom on Wednesday last week.

Since then, it has said a total of 12 people have died from the virus among 64 infections.

A spokesperson for Flydubai told Arabian Business: “Flydubai flights to Iran are currently operating according to schedule. We are following the directives issued by the relevant authorities with regards to screening and onward travel around the region. We continue to monitor the situation.”

On Monday Kuwait confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus and Bahrain also announced its first diagnosis, with all four related to travel from Iran.

While on Sunday, Lebanon confirmed its first case – a 45-year-old Lebanese woman who had travelled from Qom in Iran.

Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Armenia closed land borders with Iran on Sunday.

“To prevent the spread of the novel #coronavirus and protect the public, Afghanistan suspends all passenger movement (air and ground) to and from Iran,” the office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan tweeted.

A provincial official in Pakistan and the nation’s Frontier Corps, for their part, confirmed the country had sealed the land border with Iran.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan share long, porous borders with Iran that are often used by smugglers and human traffickers, while millions of Afghan refugees live in the Islamic republic — raising fears that the virus could easily spread over the border.

Turkey said it would “temporarily” close its land border with Iran, while air traffic from Iran would be halted but departures to the country continue.

Late on Sunday, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian announced his country was both suspending flights and entry via the sole land border checkpoint with Iran.

Other regional countries on Sunday also took major precautionary measures to counter the virus potentially spreading from Iran.

Jordan said it would bar entry to citizens of China, Iran and South Korea and other foreigners travelling from those countries.

The Kuwait Port Authority, meanwhile, announced a ban on the entry of all ships from the Islamic republic.

Emirates airline and Air Arabia have both been contacted by Arabian Business.

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