TEHRAN (AFP, REUTERS) - Iran is to ban intercity travel from Thursday (March 26) or Friday in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world's worst-hit countries, officials said.
"New journeys will be banned, leaving towns and cities will be banned," government spokesman Ali Rabii announced after President Hassan Rouhani revealed the government was poised to introduce tough new measures against the outbreak after weeks of largely unsuccessful cajoling.
Mr Rabii also warned of a potential second wave of the outbreak, as some Iranians had ignored guidance issued by health officials to contain the spread of the disease in the country, Reuters reported.
"Unfortunately some Iranians ignored advice from health ministry officials and travelled during the (Iranian) New Year holidays... This could cause a second wave of the coronavirus," Mr Rabii said, according to state TV.
"All the new trips between cities are banned and violators will be confronted legally."
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told official news agency IRNA on Wednesday that the ban would enter force "tomorrow or the day after".