February 29, 2020 / 2:12 PM / a month ago

Azerbaijan closes border with Iran over coronavirus concerns

BAKU, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan said on Saturday it had closed its border with Iran for two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, after the death toll in Iran rose to 43, the highest number outside of China.

Iran is at the epicentre of the outbreak in the Middle East, with several countries in the region reporting cases stemming from Iran.

Two Azerbaijanis have been placed in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, the government said in a statement, adding that both had arrived from Iran.

It said the decision to close the border had been taken “in light of the World Health Organisation’s recommendations and the experience of other countries related to the risk of the spread of coronavirus”.

The government will start a process to bring back its citizens from Iran, as well as returning Iranian citizens living in Azerbaijan, the statement added.

Azerbaijan registered its first case of coronavirus on Feb. 28. There are currently three people infected with the virus in Azerbaijan. (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Polina Ivanova; editing by Clelia Oziel)

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