Iraq Health Official Confirms First Death From Novel Coronavirus

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A health ministry spokesperson for Iraq Northern Kurdish Autonomous Region said that a Muslim cleric came in contact with the Iraqis who returned from Iran.

Written By Zaini Majeed | Mumbai | Updated On:

Iraq confirmed the first death from the novel coronavirus in the country, the total confirmed cases detected so far are 31 as per the media reports. The deceased was a 70-year-old man who was a religious preacher in the north-eastern city of Sulaimaniyah. He was quarantined after he tested positive to the coronavirus and succumbed to the worsening health conditions at a hospital early Wednesday, March 4.

A health ministry spokesperson for the Northern Kurdish Autonomous Region informed a state-run agency that a Muslim cleric recently came in contact with the Iraqis who returned from neighbouring Iran and contracted the strain of the virus. He was isolated and was put under medical supervision, but he passed away suffering from the deadly disease.

Iran has to date recorded the highest death toll from the outbreak outside of mainland China and is one of the high-risk countries for travel amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Most cases of coronavirus that emerged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, including one in Canada have all been linked with Iran which is now the second focal point of the global disease spread after China, suggest reports.

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State of panic

Iraqis travel often to Iran crossing the frontier for trade, tourism, medical treatment, and religious studies. Iraq, however, in a drastic measure, has shut its borders with Iran restricting the entry of the Iraqis and other foreign nationals from entering its territory confirmed reports. Several countries including neighbouring Turkey, have also sealed their borders with Iran to stem the contagion spread of the ailment.

According to the reports, there is a state of panic among the citizens of the Islamic republic who are of the opinion that their war-torn country was not prepared for a severe nationwide epidemic. They think that Iraq’s health system was under-equipped and the government was inept for an adequate response to the outbreak.  Many hospitals were in disrepair due to the successive conflicts and war in the region.

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