Iraq confirms first case of coronavirus

(FILE) - A member of the medical team checks the body temperature of an Iraqi man upon her arrival at Shalamcheh border crossing with Iran, east of Basra city, 500 km southern Iraq. EPA-EFE/HAIDER AL-ASSADEE

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Iraq has confirmed its first novel coronavirus case in an elderly Iranian national living in the southern city of Najaf, according to health officials.

Iraq had blocked travel to and from Iran days before announcing that the religious seminary student in Najaf is its first confirmed case. The case brings the total countries in the Middle East with confirmed cases to eight.

Earlier Kuwait reported three cases, while Bahrain and Iraq each confirmed one, bringing the number of countries in the Middle East with the virus, known as COVID-19, to eight.

Meanwhile, Turkey, Pakistan and Armenia have closed their borders with Iran, as authorities reported 43 coronavirus infections and 12 deaths.

Meanwhile Pakistan began quarantining at least 200 people near the Iranian border, officials said, as fears spiralled over the growing toll from the coronavirus in the region amid allegations of a coverup in Iran.

In Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province authorities quarantined at least 200 people after Shiite Muslim pilgrims returning from Iran entered the country and briefly interacted with other residents. The quarantine announcement came shortly after Pakistan sealed off its land border with Iran.

Twelve people have died and up to 61 have been infected with the new coronavirus, Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi has said during a news conference on state TV, rebutting claims from a member of parliament that 50 people had died in the country from the virus.

Read more via Al Jazeera

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