February 29, 2020 / 4:26 PM / a month ago

Iraq announces five new coronavirus cases

A member of the Iraqi security forces wears a protective face mask, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Baghdad, Iraq February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has detected five new cases of coronavirus, four in Baghdad and one in Babel province, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the country to 13.

All five had recently returned from visits to neighbouring Iran and had been placed in quarantine, the ministry said.

On Wednesday Iraq banned public gatherings and barred entry by travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain, prohibiting travel to or from a total of nine countries.

Iraq has cultural and religious ties with Iran which is one of the worst-hit countries outside China.

All 13 cases of coronavirus detected were linked to Iran, the health ministry said. The first case detected was of an Iranian student who has since been sent back and the other 12 are all Iraqis who had visited Iran.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Frances Kerry and Andrew Heavens

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