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Iraq suspends flights with India until further notice over coronavirus

Iraq on Tuesday suspended all direct flights to India due the outbreak of a new fast-spreading strain of coronavirus, which has caused a surge of cases on the subcontinent.

Iraqi Airways has suspended all direct flights to India starting Tuesday until further notice due to the seriousness of the pandemic in India, according to a statement from the Iraqi Ministry of Transport.

Iraqi Parliament’s crisis cell warned that the Indian variant of the virus is “very close” to entering Iraq, and that strict measures must be taken by the government to prevent it.

Jawad al-Mousawi, head of the cell, called on the government to prevent citizens of India and other affected countries from entering Iraq for at least a month in a statement released via Telegram.

So far, slightly more than 322,000 people have been vaccinated for coronavirus in Iraq, which is relatively low compared to Iraq’s population that exceeds forty million.

Iraq has provided the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, the British AstraZeneca and the American Pfizer, which have been distributed to vaccination centers throughout the country and are free of charge.

The number of coronavirus infections in Iraq has reached over one million and forty-five thousand, of which more than 15,000 have died. Iraq’s health system is already dilapidated and in danger of collapsing by the rapid increase in coronavirus cases.

Medical supplies from England and France began to reach India on Tuesday to help with the oxygen crisis in hospitals. The pandemic pushed the death toll close to 200,000, according to Reuters.