Iraq bans entry of foreign travellers

Iraqi authorities have banned the entry of foreign travellers into the country amid the appearance of new coronavirus strains in neighbouring countries.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said that “the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided not to allow any foreigner to enter Iraq in the coming days, except for the diplomatic missions”, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said that the decision came “as a result of the increasing number of coronavirus infections in neighbouring countries”.

As for the preparations for the major Shia ritual of Arbaeen, al-Tamimi said that “the Ministry has prepared an integrated plan, in coordination with health institutions in all Iraqi provinces”.

“We hope that there will be no increase in the number of coronavirus infections after Arbaeen,” he added.

The minister’s comments came as the Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,438 new Covid-19 cases, raising the overall tally to 319,035.

The Ministry also confirmed 64 new fatalities from the infectious disease, taking the death toll to 8,555, while 4,052 more patients recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 253,591.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first coronavirus case appeared in the country.