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In Defiance, People In Northern Iran Threaten To Close Roads To Prevent Coronavirus Influx

The body of Fatemeh Rahbar being taken away for burial. She was a newly elected member of parliament who died of coronavirus on March 7, 2020
The body of Fatemeh Rahbar being taken away for burial. She was a newly elected member of parliament who died of coronavirus on March 7, 2020

Enraged by the Islamic Republic's lack of enthusiasm in containing the novel coronavirus, people of Mazandaran province, northern Iran, have threatened to step in and close the roads to a multitude of non-residents escaping from the highly contaminated regions further south.

In a clip widely circulated on social media, the representative of the cities of Chaloos, Kelardasht, and Noshahr to Majles (parliament), Qassem Ahmadi Lashaki, is seen demanding the closure of roads leading to the region.

Speaking to President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, the legislator says that while Mazandaran’s situation is out of control and the province was wasting away. He tells Vaezi Mazandaran is also part of Iran.

"We are losing Mazandaran. People are dying. Please relay our message to the President," Ahmadi Lashaki beseeches.

Nevertheless, without promising anything, Vaezi throws the ball into the Interior Minister's court and asks the lawmaker to contact him.

"Not only the natives of Mazandaran but all others are dying in the province. Close the roads, Ahmadi Lashaki demands.

His demand falls on deaf ears. "No, you should first contact [Interior Minister] Rahmani Fazli," says Vaezi.

Frustrated, Ahmadi Lashaki fires back, "Either you close the roads, or people will spontaneously do so."

Meanwhile, people in several Iranian provinces hit by the deadly novel coronavirus are complaining about the scarcity of personal hygiene products and health facilities.

Furthermore, they are enraged by the government's hesitance in closing the roads and limiting "unnecessary travels."

In the meantime, the plenipotentiary representative of the Health Minister in the northern province of Gilan disclosed on Sunday that 200 had died of Covid-19 in the region.

Hours earlier, the spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Kianoush Jahanpour, had maintained that the total nationwide death toll was 194.

In its latest report, the Ministry of Health says that 6,566 persons have been tested positive, suffering from Covid-19.

An overnight decision to reopen the roads leading to Mazandaran enraged the residents to the extent that a multitude of them stepped in and closed all major roads leading to the region.

People gathering in northern Iran to prevent entry of non-native vehicles

The city of Amol's Special Governor, Jafar Rasouli, has also announced that the security forces had taken over the roads leading to the city in Mazandaran and forcing back travelers.

Rasouli implored the people to avoid confronting visitors on the roads and told them to leave road-management to police officers.

Nonetheless, reports and images are circulating on social media, indicating that many people are using secondary roads to enter the lush green province on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

While people in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran are furious for letting non-residents enter their regions, reports from Iran's second-largest city, Mashhad say that only five percent of hotel rooms are occupied.

The holiest Shiite city in Iran, Mashhad is the most favorite site for religious tourists from the country and worldwide. But the head of Mashhad's Hoteliers Union says that the number of foreign tourists visiting the city has dropped to nearly zero.