Iraq bans foreign arrivals from China due to Coronavirus
Iraq has said it will not allow foreigners travelling from China t enter the country, citing fears over the coronavirus.
In an online statement, Iraq’s interior ministry said that it was part of the protective measures taken by countries around the world to combat the new coronavirus, and out of a commitment to protect its citizens from its disastrous effects and negative consequences for public health and safety".
While Iraq is yet to detect any cases of the coronavirus inside the country, or having affected Iraqi ex-pats abroad, it said it needed to react strongly to the threat.
So far, the coronavirus has infected nearly 15,000 people across China. The first foreign fatality was in the Philippines. More than 300 people have died in China.
Last week, Iraq’s interior ministry said that it was working to repatriate the 50 Iraqi citizens – mostly students and their families- from Wuhan.
There are no direct flights from China, but hundreds of Chinese nationals work across Iraq’s oil fields.
Iraq’s public health system is not in the best position to respond if there were an outbreak in the country; it has been ravaged by years of conflict and little investment.
Similar to the SARS virus, coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Since then, it has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.