Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Lawmaker Warns About Spread Of Coronavirus By Chinese Tourists

Iran Health Ministry Officials say passengers arriving from China are screened for Coronavirus at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport.. FILE PHOTO

An Iranian lawmaker on Saturday warned the Health Ministry to prevent a deadly Coronavirus outbreak in Iran by taking preventative measures or even canceling the programs of a two-week winter festival in Hamadan which Chinese tourists are expected to attend.

In his tweet Amir Khojasteh, the representative of Hamadan in the Iranian Parliament, has called on the authorities to cancel Chinese tourists' attendance at a local festival.

The festival called Glorious Iran which roughly coincides with the Chinese New Year holidays began in Hamadan on January 24 and will continue until February 9. A number of Chinese tourists have signed up to attend the festival but have not yet arrived in Iran.

The embassy and cultural attaché of China in Tehran and the embassy and cultural attaché of Iran in Beijing have helped the organizers of the event to include programs that are attractive to Chinese tourists to boost tourism in Iran during the festival.

Referring to concerns about a Corona epidemic in the country on January 23 the Head of the Center for Infectious Disease Control of Iran's Health Ministry said precautions will be taken about visitors arriving from China and passengers from China will be screened for symptoms of coronavirus at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport.

According to Iranian authorities no cases of the illness that has killed at least 65 in China have been identified in Iran so far. The incubation period of the virus is two weeks.

Hamadan, where the festival is held, is the ancient Ecbatana, the capital of the Medes around 700 BC. The city is nestled in mountains and has many historical sites including Ganjnameh, a cuneiform inscription at an altitude of 2,000 meters across Mount Alvand.

The tomb of Esther and Mordechai, the most important pilgrimage site for Iranian Jews, is among the city's attractions. The tomb of Esther and Mordechai is believed to house the remains of the biblical Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai.

The famous Ali Sadr Cave, the world's longest water cave, is also among the attractions of Hamadan Province.