TEHRAN, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian authorities on Monday closed the doors of Shiite shrines in the religious cities of Mashhad, Qom and Shahr-e-Rey, amid the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The shrines will be closed to the pilgrims at least until March 25, according to the report.
The shrines in Iran attract tens of millions of domestic and international Shiite pilgrims annually.
Iran's government had consulted powerful clerics and requested their consent for the closure of major shrines in the Iranian cities.
Last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged all the institutions in the country to cooperate with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and follow its directives.
A total of 14,991 people in Iran have been infected with novel coronavirus, of whom 853 have died, said the Ministry of Health and Medical Education on Monday. Enditem