Taiwan upgrades travel alert for Iran amid virus outbreak

A man disinfecting the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Iran on Feb. 25. (photo provided by Agence France-Presse)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday raised its travel alert for Iran from Level 1 to Level 2, citing a surge in the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in that country to nearly 100 in a matter of days.

The Level 2 alert, the second-highest on the CECC’s three-level scale, advises people to remain vigilant and take extra precautions when visiting the Islamic country.

According to the CECC, Iran has 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date in 13 of its 31 provinces, while 15 reported deaths make Iran the country with the most fatalities outside China.

Iran’s links to the rest of the Middle East also make it a major source of coronavirus infections in other parts of the world, including Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Canada, the CECC said.

As countries across the Middle East have closed their air links and land borders to Iran due to the spike in coronarius infections, the CECC decided to upgrade its travel warning to the country, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

The CECC has issued its highest Level 3 travel warning for China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea, which urges people to avoid unnecessary travel to those destinations and places all individuals entering Taiwan from those countries and territories in quarantine for 14 days.

There are Level 2 alerts for Japan, Singapore, Italy and Iran; and a Level 1 warning for Thailand.