Iraq confirms 8 new cases of COVID-19 with further precautionary measures

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Iraqi Health Ministry on Friday announced eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of the confirmed cases to 46 in the country, of whom four have died.

The government has taken further measures to curb the outbreak of the virus, said the ministry.

Five of the new cases were detected in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and two others in Sulaimaniyah province in northeastern Iraq. Another case was a woman in Karbala who suffered from chronic diseases and died later in the day, the ministry said in a brief statement.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the crisis committee, set up to response to the outbreak, decided to suspend trade exchange with neighboring Iran and Kuwait from March 8 to 15.

The Iraqi Health Minister Jaafar Sadiq Allawi said in a press conference that the committee also decided not to receive travelers from Spain, France, Turkey and Nigeria, raising the number of countries whose citizens are banned from entering Iraq to 13.

Moreover, the committee also restricted the working hours of shopping malls to three hours daily to decrease the crowd to prevent the virus' spread, said the statement.

The committee also decided to continue the suspension of all schools and universities until March 21, as well as continuing the closure of cinemas, cafes, clubs, and other public gathering spots.

Also on Friday, Sayf al-Badr, spokesman of the ministry, said that one of the infected cases recovered and left the hospital.

The Iraqi authorities have been taking a series of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after cases were confirmed in the country.

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