Iraq closed its borders with Iran following the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus in Iran, leading to negative consequences for trade between the two countries.
Last week, the Iraqi authorities decided to temporarily shut the borders with neighbouring Iran following an exponential rise in Coronavirus cases in Iran as well as the first recorded case of the virus in Iraq.
The closure of the borders is set to have a dramatically negative impact on the Iraqi economy, which is heavily reliant on trade with neighbouring Iran, which brings in both “religious tourists”, students and traders to the country. Iran is also a supply of relatively cheap products and services for Iraqis.
“The Ministry of Health and the relevant ministries in the Iraqi government have sought, through the closure of these borders, to protect the health of Iraqi citizens, but this may have an impact on the economy [of the country]”, noted Ramadan Haji, a university professor in Iraq.
The first case of the Coronavirus in Iraq came from Iran, as an Iranian student who had entered Iraq prior to the ban was found to have the virus. The student, who is a theology student in the Najaf Seminary, was immediately taken to the hospital, where he was quarantined and dealt with as per “international standards”, according to the statement. A number of reports have stated the student was discovered when the authorities in Najaf were following up with all foreign students who entered the country over the past two weeks. Given that the student had been residing in the city without knowing of his infection, the authorities have warned that anyone who has come in contact with him should immediately get screened.
Ministry of Health announced several preventative measures in order to reduce the risk of the Coronavirus from spreading. Amongst these measures is halting flights and travel from Iran, China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Singapore. The ministry also called on citizens not to travel to these countries in the meantime, while also unofficially quarantining Najaf Province.