Iraq extends ban on border crossings by non-Iraqis

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Iraq has extended an entry ban for any non-Iraqis coming from Iran, the prime minister said, as the death toll from the deadly coronavirus reportedly reached 18.

Baghdad had banned crossings by non-Iraqis from Iran on Thursday for three days and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Saturday night that the ban would be extended. He did not specify until when.

The Iranian government confirmed two more deaths on Sunday, putting their total to eight, but Al Arabiya sources put the number initally at 18 and then at “more than 15.” On the same day, Iran International media outlet also put the number at 18 on its Arabic Twitter page.

“The prime minister ordered the ... halting of receiving travelers from the Islamic Republic of Iran except for Iraqis,” his office said in a statement.

Neighboring Iraq and Iran, both home to Shia Muslim majorities, share close religious, political, and trade ties.

Iran has suspended religious pilgrimage trips to Iraq. Iraqi Airways suspended flights to Iran.

Iraq’s health ministry said it had detected no cases in the country.

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