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First Iraqis catch coronavirus amid fear of Iran epidemic spillover

REUTERS/Ahmed Dhahi

Iraq shut schools and universities on Tuesday and told citizens to avoid mass gatherings, as it rushed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from its neighbor Iran, hit by what appeared to be the worst outbreak outside of China.

An Iraqi family of four who returned from Iran tested positive for the coronavirus in Kirkuk province. 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.

Measures to curb the spread could have major political repercussions in Iraq, where around 500 people have been killed in anti-government protests since last year. A populist cleric called off plans on Tuesday for a “million-man” demonstration.

In Mosul, all public offices would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, the governor said. Mosques were instructed to include advice on avoiding coronavirus in their Friday sermons.

25th Feb 2020

News Source Reuters

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