Turkey to ‘temporarily’ close Iran border over virus fears

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Sunday announced it would “temporarily” close its border with neighbouring Iran as alarm grows over a spike in new coronavirus infections there.

“We have decided to shut the land border temporarily after an increase in the number of cases in our neighbour Iran,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters.

The land and railway borders will be closed from 5pm on Sunday, the minister said.

He said air traffic from Iran into Turkey would also be halted from 8pm on Sunday but departures to Iran could continue.

Iran confirmed eight deaths from the novel coronavirus on Sunday, the highest toll of any country outside China.

Koca said Turkey was “alarmed” by the growing number of cases and forced to take the measures after speaking with the Iranian authorities.