Iraq halts travel to Iran amid coronavirus outbreak

Iraqi authorities issue restrictions on travel to Iran after several cases of coronavirus are detected in that country.

Elad Benari ,

Coronavirus positive
Coronavirus positive

Iraqi authorities decided on Thursday to suspend the entry of Iranian citizens and prevent the travel of Iraqis to Iran after several cases of the novel coronavirus were identified in Iran, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Iraqi Interior Minister Yassin al-Yasiri overruled his earlier decision to grant Iranian citizens visas directly at the border crossings after the news that a number of Iranians have been infected with COVID-19, state-run Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

Diplomatic missions were excluded from the ban, INA said.

On Wednesday it was reported that two Iranians had died in the city of Qom after testing positive for the new coronavirus, marking the Islamic Republic's first cases of the disease.

The United Arab Emirates last month became the first country in the Middle East to report cases of the coronavirus strain.

Egypt has also reported cases, the first of which was recorded last week.