Iraq reports first COVID-19 case in Baghdad, sixth overall

Iraq reports first COVID-19 case in Baghdad, sixth overall

Iraqi children wear protective masks as they walk near a religious school where the first coronavir
Iraqi children wear protective masks as they walk near a religious school in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq on Feb 24, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani)

BAGHDAD: Iraq reported the first case of coronavirus in the capital Baghdad on Thursday (Feb 27), its sixth in total.

A man contracted the virus after a trip to Iran, the health ministry said in a statement. He was in "good health" in a Baghdad hospital, it added.

Interactive: COVID-19 cases worldwide

Iraq on Wednesday banned public gatherings and barred entry by travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain because of the spread of the new coronavirus, prohibiting travel to or from a total of nine countries.

Iraq is concerned about the spread of the coronavirus from neighbouring Iran, one of the worst-hit countries outside China where the virus originated late last year.

Iran has reported 19 fatalities from 139 infections - the highest death toll outside China.

READ: COVID-19 kills four in Iran, taking death toll to 19

Iraq's six confirmed cases have all been traced to neighbouring Iran, a popular tourism destination for Iraqis, who also visit the country to receive medical treatment.

Many hospitals in Iraq are poorly equipped or in disrepair and there are fewer than 10 doctors for every 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Baghdad is the Arab world's second most populous city after the Egyptian capital Cairo.

The health ministry advised against large gatherings, urging officials to take steps to "restrict intermixing", a move that may deal a blow to anti-government protests that have gripped Baghdad and southern Iraq since October.

An Iraqi family of four who returned from Iran tested positive for the coronavirus in Kirkuk province on Tuesday. They were the first Iraqis known to have caught the disease, a day after an Iranian student in Najaf became Iraq's first confirmed case. He was later transferred to Iran.

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Source: Agencies/nr

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