Iraq reports first coronavirus death, cancels Sulaimaniya communal prayers

An Iraqi man wearing a protective mask walks in a deserted street in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (File photo: AFP)

Iraq reported its first coronavirus death on Wednesday, an elderly man in the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya, the local health department said.

Later on Wedensday, the Baghdad Health Ministry said it is unclear whether the death was in fact due to coronavirus.

The country has so far recorded 31 cases of the new coronavirus, one Iranian student who has since been sent home and 30 Iraqis who had all visited Iran recently.

The Iraqi General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf canceled all communal prayers in the Sulaimaniya province to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus, according to the Iraqi News Agency on Telegram.

The coronavirus first started spreading from Wuhan, China, earlier this year and has since infected nearly 90,000 people, with over 3,000 dead. The Middle East has been hit particularly hard as cases started spreading across the region as travelers returned from Iran, the second deadliest epicenter for the disease after China, with 66 reported dead.

Check out our dedicated coronavirus page here.

With Reuters

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05