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Iraq to suspend border trade with Iran, Kuwait from March 8-15

Iraq to suspend border trade with Iran, Kuwait from March 8-15

Sea- and air-borne trade will continue as long as personnel and goods involved have the necessary paperwork from their originating countries

Iraq will halt border trade with Iran and Kuwait between March 8 and 15 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s health minister Jaafar Sadiq Allawi said in a televised press conference.

Sea- and air-borne trade will continue as long as personnel and goods involved have the necessary paperwork from their originating countries to show that they are free from the disease, the minister said.

Iraq, OPEC’s second biggest producer, is also barring travelers from France and Spain from entering the country. The move brings to a total of 11 countries it has imposed such curbs on.

Schools and other educational institutions remain closed until March 21.

According to the health ministry, Iraq has a total of 38 coronavirus cases so far, including two deaths.

Meanwhile, in Iran, a lawmaker died from the new coronavirus, the first member of parliament to succumb to the disease, as the government reported another surge in infections.

Fatemeh Rahbar, 55, went into a coma on Thursday and never recovered, the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Rahbar, elected in February, is the nation’s seventh political figure to die from Covid-19 as Iran fights to contain its spread.

The number of cases jumped more than 20 per cent to 5,823, a health ministry spokesman said Saturday on state television.

There were 21 additional deaths, bringing the total to 145 – third highest in the world.

Iran is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, and the country now has the most infections after China and South Korea, led by 1,539 cases in Tehran’s province. At least 23 Iranian legislators have tested positive for the infection.

Lawmakers in other nations are also infected. The head of Italy’s Democratic Party, the nation’s second-biggest, on Saturday said he’s tested positive.

Nicola Zingaretti, 54, said he will stay home for a few days.

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