Iraq announces first coronavirus death

/ 07:36 PM March 04, 2020

Iraqi women wearing protective masks amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus serve tea on March 4, 2020, in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square where anti-government protesters continue their sit-in since last October. – Iraq reported its first coronavirus case last week in the southern shrine city of Najaf, which has sparked public panic in the country, one of Iran’s largest export markets and a popular destination for Iranian Shiite Muslim pilgrims. (Photo by SABAH ARAR / AFP)

Sulaimaniyah, Iraq — Iraq said a 70-year-old Muslim cleric died Wednesday from the novel coronavirus, marking the first death from the outbreak in a country where 31 people have been infected.

The preacher had been quarantined in the northeastern city of Sulaimaniyah before his death, a spokesman for the northern Kurdish autonomous region’s health authority said.


According to local sources, he had recently met with Iraqis returning from neighboring Iran, which has recorded the deadliest outbreak outside China, the epidemic’s epicenter.

The virus in the Islamic Republic has claimed 77 lives and infected more than 2,300 people.


Iraq, where 31 cases of coronavirus have been reported, is one of Iran’s largest export markets and a popular destination for Iranian pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Many Iraqis also cross the frontier for business, tourism, medical treatment, and religious studies.

Iraqi authorities have closed land borders with Iran and banned the entry of foreign nationals traveling from there and other badly affected countries.

Schools, universities, cinemas, cafes and other public places in Iraq have been ordered shut until March 7 to further contain the outbreak, but many continue to operate normally.

The outbreak has fuelled public panic among Iraqis who say the war-ravaged country’s healthcare system cannot handle the epidemic.

Many hospitals in Iraq are poorly equipped or in disrepair after successive waves of conflict.

According to the World Health Organization, there are fewer than 10 doctors for every 10,000 people.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2019-nCoV, China, Coronavirus, COVID-19, disease, Health, International news, Iraq, NcoV, nCoV update, news, novel coronavirus, Virus, world, world news, Wuhan
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.