Covid-19: Iraq reports four new cases

Baghdad bans entry of travellers from seven countries

Iraq has detected four new cases of coronavirus in Kirkuk province, the health ministry has said, bringing the total cases in the country to five and marking the first instance of Iraq patients.

The patients are an Iraqi family who had been on a trip to Iran, the ministry said in a statement.

They have been placed in quarantine. Iraq reported its first case of the virus on Monday, an Iranian theology student in the holy Shia city of Najaf.

Baghdad authorities have indefinitely extended an entry ban on travellers from China and Iran and instituted similar bans on travellers from Thailand, South Korean, Japan, Italy and Singapore, the health ministry has said.

Iraqi nationals, diplomats and official delegations are exempt from the ban, the ministry said. Schools and universities have also been suspended for ten days in Najaf, where the first case of coronavirus was reported on Monday, and citizens are urged to avoid travelling to and from the province.

Iraq's Sadr suspends protest call over coronavirus fears

Populist Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has suspended a call for his followers to hold massive protests against his political opponents due to fears over the spread of coronavirus, minutes after the health ministry urged citizens to avoid public gatherings.

"I had called for million man protests and sit-ins against sectarian power-sharing and today I forbid you from them for your health and life, for they are more important to me than anything else," he said in a statement.

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