Iran has reopened its doors to tourists vaccinated against Covid-19 after almost 20 months of closure due to the pandemic, media in the Islamic republic said Monday. The country’s anti-virus taskforce approved the reopening on the advice of the tourism ministry, an official was quoted as saying on the ministry’s website.
The Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic had shut its borders to foreigners in March 2020, with the exception of medical and business trips. The average number of international trips to and from Iran decreased by 80 percent in the year to March 20, 2021, according to the customs administration.
Iran’s tourism sector recorded a deficit of USD 1.2 billion during 2020-2021, according to the ministry. “Tourists who have received two doses of anti-Covid vaccines and who can present a certificate for a negative PCR test conducted within 96 hours can obtain a visa,” ISNA news agency said.
This does not include travellers from countries considered to be high-risk by the World Health Organisation. The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Iran has declined in recent weeks after peaking in August. Iran has registered more than 5.86 million cases of Covid infection and over 125,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Health Ministry’s latest figures.
Authorities have admitted the real number of Coronavirus deaths in the country is likely much higher. About 51.1 million people have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine so far, with 30.1 million having been fully vaccinated, out of a population of 83 million people.
Iran also allowed worshippers to attend the main weekly prayers on Friday for the first time in 20 months.