Middle East, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus death toll in Iraq rises to 8

Deceased patient was 68-year-old from Karbala, family to be quarantined

Ibrahim Saleh   | 11.03.2020
Coronavirus death toll in Iraq rises to 8 Civil defense team with protective suits disinfect the streets and workplaces as a precaution to the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Baghdad, Iraq on March 09, 2020. ( Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency )

BAGHDAD 

The local health directorate of Karbala city confirmed Wednesday a new death from the novel coronavirus, taking the toll to eight across Iraq.  

"The deceased patient was 68-year-old and passed away last night, hours after he was transferred to the hospital," the directorate said in a statement.

"Lab analysis confirmed on Wednesday that he was infected with COVID-19," according to the statement. 

The local directorate stated that "the family of the deceased will be subject to quarantine."

Last week, Baghdad shut down schools and universities for 10 days and banned travel to virus-hit states as part of its fight against the disease.

In a related development, the Iraqi government announced a decision to totally close land borders with Iran and Kuwait as of March 16 to limit spread of the coronavirus.

The decision will block movement of people and goods.  

"Iraqis will be given a chance to return until March 15, before the land border with Iran and Kuwait is completely closed," the Border Ports Authority said in a statement without giving the reopening date of borders. 

In late February, Iraq barred entry for Iranians via land crossings before suspending trade movement on March 8, however borders were kept open for returning Iraqi citizens.  

On Tuesday, the Kurdish Regional Government announced it will totally close the border with Iran for individuals from March 16 until April. Trade movement will continue at terminals without the Iranian vehicles being allowed into the region.  

The new coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, last December and has now spread to more than 100 countries.

The global death toll is now almost 4,300, with around 118,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently updated the global risk level to very high after declaring the outbreak an international health emergency.

*Bassel Ibrahim contributed to this report from Ankara.

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