After COVID-19 sent China into lockdown in late January the next country to be hit particularly hard was Iran, one of our traditional favourites countries and tours around the world. Our annual spring tour was, of course, cancelled with no prospect of travel to Iran this spring.
YPT’s local partners in Iran have sent us this update about the situation there.
After the government announced the lockdown on the 20th February we had to stay at home. At the time some said they acted too slow, but as we have seen the situation unfold in Europe it seems we were not alone in underestimating the pandemic!
Soon after it was Nowruz (Iranian New Year), and the government asked, rather than forced, people to stay at home. They closed bazaars, parks and mosques, shrines, cinemas, malls and restaurants though, so we didn’t really have anywhere to go anyway! Some necessary shops remained open like pharmacies and food shops.
But fortunately myself, my family and my colleagues have not had to deal with any bad health issues!
For us in the travel agency it has of course been particularly hard, Nowruz is the high season for outbound tourism which we have lost completely, and travel agencies were closed for two months until the end of April. How things are opening up again but it will be a long time for things to return to normal. We hope people can start visiting Iran again and the people who depend on tourism for a living can start to worry less!
All airlines also stopped flying to Iran, only Qatar Airways remained open and that was to bring overseas Iranians home.
Now the country is divided into 3 zones, white, yellow and red depending on severity. Tehran is red, so we still have restrictions but nor a full quarantine. Social distancing in a metropolitan city like Iran is hard but we’re doing our best!
This spring Iran has looked greener than ever, I hope that once the virus is over we can respect the planet and the environment more than ever.
Wishing you and all your Pioneers a healthy life and we hope to see you in Tehran soon!