Iran bans flights from India and Pakistan

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Iran's civil aviation agency has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan because of the dramatic surge in coronavirus cases in the two nations.

The state-run IRNA news agency on Saturday said the decision was made by Iran's health ministry and it takes effect at midnight.

Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh, spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation, noted there are no routine flights between Iran and India and "flights are operated occasionally".

Several other countries in the region, including the sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait, also have banned flights to and from India over the rise in coronavirus cases there.

Zibakhsh said flights to and from 41 countries already were prohibited in Iran, while those who want to fly to other countries listed as high risk are required to have a coronavirus test in Iran.

Travellers over eight years old need to submit a negative PCR test within 96 hours of departure and do another test on arrival.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said there were 18,230 new confirmed cases over 24 hours, bringing Iran's total to more than 2,377,000.