‘Nowhere to go’: Canadians in Iran ask for consular help amid COVID-19 outbreak

Canadians in Iran say they have no way to leave the country now that it is dealing with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus and they are asking Ottawa to help them come home — or at least provide consular services while they are there.

The federal government has repatriated more than 500 Canadians and their families from areas affected by the new strain of coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, including Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, and the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

The virus recently spread to Iran, which has confirmed 95 cases and 16 deaths in the last week alone. Even the Iranian deputy health minister has tested positive for the virus.

Mashhoud Nasseri, 64, said he rushed to Tehran last week to be with his family after his mother died. He was to fly home to Toronto March 2.

“Just today I heard that my flight is cancelled,” Nasseri said Tuesday by telephone from his family’s home in Tehran.

The flight itinerary was to take him from Tehran to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, before going on to New York and finally Toronto, but the U.A.E. has halted all flights from Iran for at least a week.

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