Iran reports 157 new virus deaths, imposes intercity ban Mar 27, 2020 0 343 12345 AFPTehranIran on Thursday announced 157 new deaths from coronavirus, raising the official number of fatalities to 2,234, as it slapped a ban on intercity travel to try to curb the spread.Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour also said that 2,389 new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of declared infections in one of the world’s wost-hit countries to 29,406.“Fortunately, until today 10,457 of those infected have recovered and been discharged from hospitals,” he told a news conference.Jahanpour said that the spread of the new coronavirus and its rate of infection was “growing steadily” in Iran.The Islamic republic imposed strict new containment measures Thursday, after weeks of public appeals largely failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of Iranians taking to the roads to visit family for the Persian New Year holidays.“Those who were planning to travel, cancel it right from this moment,” said Hossein Zolfaghari, a senior official at Iran’s anti-coronavirus committee.“Those who are out travelling should return home quickly,” he added in a televised announcement while announcing details of the new measures.Zolfaghari said non-residents will not be allowed into cities based on their car plates and drivers’ IDs, and violators will be fined and their cars impounded.“All official and non-official gatherings... are also banned,” the official said, without elaborating further.President Hassan Rouhani said in a cabinet meeting he hoped the “more strict measures” would help to curb the virus.He added the government was going to ask Iran’s supreme leader for permission to draw $1 billion from its national development fund to address “the coronavirus’ complexities and issues, especially the medical sector’s needs”. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Rockets hit Iraq’s Green Zone, US-led coalition leaves base Mar 27, 2020 0 361 Public distrust hampers Africa fight against virus misinformation Mar 27, 2020 0 43 Warring sides in Yemen back calls for coronavirus ceasefire Mar 27, 2020 0 229 Tunisia workers isolate in factory making anti-virus gear AFP Tunis In Tunisia, 150 people -- mostly women -- have isolated themselves in a factory for a month to make protective gear like masks to help their country’s fight against coronavirus. Due to strict measures to prevent .. US grants Iraq shortest sanctions waiver yet for Iran gas Baghdad The United States on Thursday granted Iraq a 30-day waiver to keep importing Iranian gas despite American sanctions, two Iraqi officials told AFP, the shortest extension yet. The US slapped tough sanctions on .. Iran says missing ex-FBI agent left country ‘years ago’ Tehran Iran implicitly denied on Thursday that a missing former FBI agent had died in its custody as his family claims, restating its longstanding position that he left the Islamic republic “years ago”. US President .. Gantz calls for ‘emergency unity govt’ AFP Jerusalem Israel’s ex-military chief Benny Gantz called for an emergency unity government after being elected parliament speaker Thursday, likely leading to an alliance with his rival Prime Minister Benjamin .. South Africa’s COVID-19 cases climb to 927: official Johannesburg South Africa’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases rose sharply on Thursday to 927 from 709 the previous day, on the eve of a three-week lockdown, the government said. “As of today, the confirmed cases of .. Mali opposition leader kidnapped ahead of parliamentary poll Bamako Mali’s government said on Thursday that leading opposition figure Soumaila Cisse had been kidnapped in West African nation’s volatile centre, just days before a long-delayed parliamentary poll. In an .. 18 die in road crash during Egypt’s coronavirus curfew Cairo Eighteen people were killed when a truck crashed into several cars south of the Egyptian capital during a night-time curfew put in place because of the coronavirus outbreak, state television reported on Thursday. ..