Iran closes businesses, curtails travel amid virus surge

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the Mideast region. The Iranian Health Ministry said on Saturday that the death toll from the virus has surged past 44,000. Iran has recorded daily death tolls of above 430 over the past five days. The new restrictions include Iran’s major cities and are set to last two weeks but can be automatically extended.  Top Iranian officials initially downplayed the risks posed by the virus outbreak, before recently urging the public to follow measures like wearing masks and avoiding unessential travel.