Iraq reports first coronavirus case in Baghdad, sixth overall

Iraqi workers wear protective face masks following the coronavirus outbreak, as they sewing masks at a textile factory in Babylon, Iraq February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq reported the first case of coronavirus in the capital Baghdad on Thursday, its sixth in total.

A man contracted the virus after a trip to Iran, the health ministry said in a statement. He was in “good health” in a Baghdad hospital, it added.

Iraq on Wednesday banned public gatherings and barred entry by travelers from Kuwait and Bahrain because of the spread of the new coronavirus, prohibiting travel to or from a total of nine countries.

Iraq is concerned about the spread of the coronavirus from neighboring Iran, one of the worst-hit countries outside China where the virus originated late last year.

Iraq has cultural and religious ties with Iran and annually receives millions of Iranian pilgrims.

An Iraqi family of four who returned from Iran tested positive for the coronavirus in Kirkuk province on Tuesday. 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. He was later transferred to Iran.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Writing by John Davison; Editing by Kim Coghill and Stephen Coates

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