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Iraq’s coronavirus cases near 100,000 as it prepares to reopen airports

Iraq is set to report more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19 as it reopens its airports to local and international flights after months of closure.

The Iraqi health ministry said late Wednesday that 2,706 people tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours. This brings the total number of cases in the whole country to 99,865, a number it will likely surpass on Thursday.

As part of efforts to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority on March 17 banned commercial passenger flights. The ban was extended multiple times as the virus continued to spread quickly throughout the country.

The government committee overseeing Iraq’s response to the pandemic, led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, on July 16 decided to ease several lockdown measures in Iraq, including reopening airports for local and international commercial flights on July 23.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), however, is delaying opening the Erbil and Sulaimani airports for a week and a half, until precautionary measures against the coronavirus are in place. Interior Minister Reber Ahmed told reporters in Erbil on Tuesday that the airports will open after August 1.

Across Iraq, 4,042 people have died of COVID-19, including 444 in the Kurdistan Region where 11,571 people have tested positive for the virus. Source