Coronavirus: Iraqi riot police use water cannons to disinfect streets of Basra

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Iraqi riot police have repurposed water cannon trucks on Tuesday to disinfect the streets and public areas of Basra in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

Previously, the same equipment was used to disperse anti-government demonstrations in Basra, and other cities across Iraq.

The protests, that began on October 1 and led to the deaths of nearly 500 people, largely stopped in March with a ban on public gatherings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reuters footage showed riot police disinfecting streets, buildings, houses, shop fronts and even parts of protest sites in the oil-rich city of Basra on Tuesday.

Basra citizens, some of whom harbor anger towards riot police over the deadly protests, were pleased to see the riot equipment now being used "in favor of the people".

A nationwide curfew has been extended until April 19, with borders shut and international flights halted as part of efforts to control the spread of the disease.

At least 695 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country and 46 people have died, health ministry sources said.

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