Iran blocks off holy sites Iran as virus deaths near 1,000


A cleric prays outside the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Iran's holy city of Qom. Iran closed four key Shiite pilgrimage sites across the Islamic republic on Tuesday (March 17) in line with measures to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, state media reported. State television said that "upon the orders of the anti-coronavirus headquarters and the health minister, the holy shrines of" Imam Reza in Mashhad, Fatima Masumeh in Qom and Shah Abdol-Azim in Tehran were closed until further notice. - AFP

TEHERAN: Four holy sites in Iran are blocked off to visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak which has now claimed nearly 1,000 lives in the country.

State media on Tuesday (March 17) reported that three mausoleums in the cities of Mashad, Qom, and Tehran were shut, as well as the large Jamkaran mosque in Qom, which is south of Teheran.

Infections among pilgrims to these sites should be avoided, but people will remain connected to these sites "in spirit," President Hassan Rowhani said.

The Imam Reza mausoleum in Mashad is visited by millions of pilgrims from Iran and abroad every year.

Believers say a visit can heal even the worst illnesses, and therefore many believe they cannot catch the coronavirus there.

The closure of the mausoleums has already led to strong protests among devout Muslims.

An Islamist group broke open the door of the door of the Qom mausoleum, which honours Reza's sister Fatima Masumeh.

The outbreak in Iran, the worst in the Middle East and the source of many infections in other countries in the region, has cost 988 lives, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Over 16,000 people had confirmed infections, health spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said. Most of the new infections were registered in Teheran.- dpa/Asian News Network
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Teheran , Four Holy Sites Closed , Covid-19

   

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