Syria bans most domestic travel in coronavirus lockdown

A views shows closed shops, as restrictions are imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the old city of Damascus, Syria March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Yamam Al Shaar

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria said on Friday it was banning travel between cities and governorates as part of tightening measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, state-run Ikhbariya TV reported, citing the interior minister.

Syria has recorded five cases of corona virus so far but relief agencies worry that any outbreak could be lethal after years of conflict that has ravaged its healthcare system.

The travel restriction, effective from Sunday, comes on top of a curfew announced this week from 6 pm to 6 am and after the country has halted flights and ordered the closure of most businesses.

Humanitarian agencies have expressed deep concern over the prospect of coronavirus spreading in Syria’s northwest, where hundreds of thousands of people displaced by war live in tightly packed camps and have severely limited access to healthcare.

Reporting by Kinda Makieh; Writing by Eric Knecht, editing by Pritha Sarkar