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Iraqi govt considers imposing full lockdown in Baghdad areas amid uptick in coronavirus cases

Iraqi govt considers imposing full lockdown in Baghdad areas amid uptick in coronavirus cases

Iraq will impose a complete lockdown on some areas of the capital, the new health minister said on Monday, as in coronavirus cases have jumped in recent weeks since curfew hours were relaxed.

The new government under PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi was sworn into power just two weeks ago following a five-month leadership vacuum. Ministers have to respond to the pandemic and a severe economic crisis brought on by falling oil prices.

Areas of Baghdad believed to play a role in spreading the virus will face a full lockdown as of Wednesday for a period of two weeks, Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said in a statement. The areas, which lie in Baghdad’s peripheries and are mostly impoverished and overcrowded, include Sadr City, Habibia, Hurriya, Shula, Ameria, and Kamalia.

At least 123 people have died among 3,404 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iraq, according to the Health Ministry. The number of confirmed cases per day has risen since curfew hours were relaxed during the holy month of Ramadan from 5pm to 5am, AP reports.