Coronavirus Prompts Iraqi Authorities to Close Holy City of Najaf – Reports

© REUTERS / ALAA AL-MARJANIMembers of the civil defense team spray disinfectant to sanitize surrounding of the Kufa mosque
Members of the civil defense team spray disinfectant to sanitize surrounding of the Kufa mosque - Sputnik International
Iraqi authorities earlier this month cancelled Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala amid concerns regarding the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that has spread into over 100 countries since the start of the outbreak in early December 2019.

Following the ban on Friday prayers in the city of Karbala, Iraqi authorities restricted access for non-residents to the neighboring holy city of Najaf – a home to holy Muslim Shiites sites. According to media reports, the closure of the holy city is active starting Wednesday. Najaf is also known as a major destination for Shiite pilgrims.

According to the nation’s health officials, Iraq has seen at least two coronavirus-related deaths. Both cases were registered earlier in the capital city of Baghdad.

Adila Zahir, chief of infection prevention and control is seen washing her hands during a news media tour of quarantine facilities for treating novel coronavirus at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada March 2, 2020. - Sputnik International
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The total number of confirmed COVID 2019 cases has increased to over 110,000 globally, with the death toll now over 3,800.

While China accounts for most of the cases, authorities across the globe are making efforts on quarantine and measures to prevent the spread of the infection.

China’s Health Commission suggested that the Wuhan coronavirus would continue to spread throughout the world until at least June.

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