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Syria Suspends International Flights Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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Originating in China last December, the virus has rapidly spread across the globe prompting the World Health Orginisation to declare the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March.

The Syrian authorities decided to temporarily stop international air traffic amid the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Syrian Minister of Transport Ali Hammoud said on Saturday, adding that a flight from Moscow to Damascus on Sunday will be the last one.

"The last flight will arrive from Moscow tomorrow, after which all flights from and to Syria will be suspended", Hammoud told Sham FM radio station.

The flight from Moscow to Damascus is operated by the Syrian Air flag carrier.

While Syria has no confirmed cases of the virus so far, its neighbour Iran has registered more than 19,000 COVID-19 cases, while another neighbour, Turkey, has also seen a nearly double increase in the number of people infected, with 670 cases confirmed so far. 

Experts warned that for the war-torn Syria coronavirus epidemic would be a catastrophe.

As of today, the new coronavirus has spread to more than 180 countries, with more than 234,000 confirmed cases and over 9,800 deaths registered so far, according to the latest situation update by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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