Iraq announces first coronavirus case: health ministry

An Iraqi female student wears protective mask, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Najaf, Iraq February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

(Reuters) – Local health officials in the Iraqi holy Shi’ite city of Najaf have detected the first case of coronavirus in the country, an Iranian theology student, the health ministry said on Monday.

The patient had entered Iraq before the government shut border crossings and banned the entry of any non-Iraqis coming from Iran, the ministry said in a statement.

“It has become clear to the ministry that the results of lab tests conducted on a theology student, an Iranian citizen, who had entered the country before … the decision to stop travel have revealed he is ill with the coronavirus,” it said.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Alex Richardson

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