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09 Mar 2020 | 06:50 AM UTC

Iraq: Six COVID-19-related deaths reported on March 8 /update 9

Health officials confirm sixt COVID-19-related deaths on March 8; entry restrictions in place

entry/exit
health
transportation
IRQ

Event

Iraqi health officials have confirmed six coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths on Sunday, March 8. As of Monday, March 9, there are 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Kurdish Regional Government has announced the closure of the Dohuk-Nineveh road in Mosul and all other checkpoints that cross from Nineveh into Dohuk stating that they will be closed in response to new COVID-19 measures "until further notice." No announcements have yet been made regarding other checkpoints in Nineveh and Kirkuk into other Kurdish provinces, though authorities will likely follow similar measures in the coming days.

There is an existing entry restriction for those traveling from Spain, France, China, Iran, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Kuwait, and Bahrain, however, Iraqi citizens and foreign diplomats are exempted from the ban.

Further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and weeks. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.