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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 January 2021

CORONAVIRUS

Deputy PM of Iraq’s Kurdish region tests positive for Covid-19

Iraq records falls in new daily coronavirus infections and deaths during past weeks

 Deputy Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government Qubad Talabani, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman (not seen) and US State Department official John Lister (not seen) hold a press conference in Erbil, Iraq on March 12, 2018. Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
 Deputy Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government Qubad Talabani, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman (not seen) and US State Department official John Lister (not seen) hold a press conference in Erbil, Iraq on March 12, 2018. Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The deputy prime minister of Iraq’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region tested positive for coronavirus.

“After having received the test, the results show that I’m infected with the coronavirus,” Qubad Talabani announced in a tweet on Monday.

I have to distance myself and avoid interaction until I pass through it,” Mr Talabani said, calling for adherence to precautionary measures.

Last year, the pandemic claimed the lives of the governor of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, as well as three members of the federal parliament.

Iraq has recorded a decrease in daily new coronavirus infections and deaths during the past weeks. It has been registering fewer than 1,000 cases a day.

Late last year, daily cases hovered around 4,000 a day.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Health Ministry recorded 810 new cases with five deaths. That brought the total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak to 604,549 and deaths to 12,911.

Last month, Iraq signed an agreement to reserve 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The country will start receiving the vaccine early next month.

Iraqi security forces will be given priority, followed by frontline health workers, the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

With the spread of the new coronavirus strain late last year, Iraq last month reimposed some precautionary measures.

It issued a travel ban to Britain, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and Iran. And a 14-day quarantine period will be applied to Iraqis arriving from these countries, while non-Iraqi passengers will not be allowed from the countries on the list.

Public areas such as restaurants and shopping centres closed for two weeks, as did border crossings.

Updated: January 13, 2021 03:27 PM

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