Iran is still allowing foreign pilgrims to the shia holy city of Qom, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Iranian lawmaker Aziz Akbarian said on Tuesday.
The coronavirus tally in Iran hits 44,605 cases and 2,898 deaths, according to the latest reports.
“Foreign pilgrims are still coming to Qom,” Akbarian stated while interviewing to ILNA news agency on Tuesday.
“A solution must be found for this issue because fighting a disease like coronavirus is no joke,” he said.
Akbarian also criticised the government’s late response in handling the pandemic in Qom, saying, “If we had quarantined Qom from the start, not allowed any vehicles to leave the city and closed down the non-essential places, the outbreak would not have been as prevalent.”
In Iran, Qom is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, where the deadly virus has killed 2,757 and infected 41,495 people in the country as of Monday.
A video from the city shared on social media on Saturday showed foreign travelers getting off several coaches.
According to the video, the travelers are likely Shia pilgrims from Pakistan and India coming to visit the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Qom, Alarabiya reported.
The country closed the Fatima Masumeh shrine almost a month after acknowledging the outbreak in Qom, COVID-19 had already spread to most parts of the country by then.
“If the outbreak continues like this, we will definitely be the last country to say goodbye to this disease,” said Akbarian.