Most Iraqi citizens coming from Syria are infected with the coronavirus, the governor of Karbala, Nassif Al-Khattabi, warned yesterday.
"On Saturday, the Karbala province recorded 11 cases of coronavirus, with a vast majority of the infections coming from Syria," Al-Khattabi said in a video address to the province's residents. He pointed out that Iraq had not been aware that Syria was affected by the coronavirus. "Not all of the Iraqi citizens coming from Syria have been quarantined over the past few weeks, despite the existence of quarantine centres."
Criticising the Syrian authorities for "not providing the necessary information about the number of infection cases in Syria," the Iraqi official said that Karbala Province is "implementing a health and security campaign to track down all Iraqis who came from Syria recently."
On Sunday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said that the number of people infected by the virus had risen to 547, adding that the death toll was standing at 42. On Wednesday, the Syrian regime announced three new confirmed cases.
In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, the Iraqi authorities have taken measures including curfews, the closure of schools and universities, the suspension of flights and the closure of all public places such as parks, restaurants, cinemas and mosques. On Thursday, the government in Baghdad extended the nationwide curfew until 11 April.
At least 739,385 people worldwide have contracted the virus, of whom more than 35,018 have died; 156,588 have recovered. The World Health Organisation has declared the crisis to be a pandemic.