Iraq bans travel to 8 countries as Covid cases reach 586,503

The Iraqi authorities have taken several restrictive measures, including a travel ban to eight countries where the new strain of coronavirus has spread, as the total nationwide infections reached 586,503.

A statement by the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Tuesday said that the Council of Minister, headed by al-Kadhimi, held a meeting to take new restrictive measures to protect the Iraqi people from a new strain of coronavirus that has spread recently in many countries, which is characterised by the rapid transmission of infection, Xinhua news agency reported.

Among the new measures, the council decided to ban travel to Britain, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iran, Japan, and any other country that the Iraqi Ministry of Health would recommend, the statement said.

The council also banned the entry of foreign travellers to Iraq, except for Iraqi citizens, who must be quarantined for 14 days until they undergo PCR tests to prove that they are not infected with the virus, the statement added.

The council also decided to close all the ground border crossings, except for emergencies, without giving further details about the duration of the closure. In addition, the council decided to close malls, restaurants, and other public facilities for two weeks starting from December 24, according to the statement.

Moreover, the decisions prevented the entry of employees and citizens to government institutions without wearing masks, it added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health reported 1,158 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 586,503.

The ministry also reported 15 new deaths and 1,707 more recovered cases in the country, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,725 and the total recoveries to 524,344, which represents more than 89 per cent of the total infections.

A total of 4,221,416 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February, with 38,950 done during the day, according to the statement.