Iraq barred all tourists on sunday from entering the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus as a holy pilgrimage approaches, The National reported .
The decision, approved by Iraq’s Higher Committee for Health and Public Safety, is to protect the country’s economy and health sector from collapse as it faces a rise in infections.
“Iraq’s Higher Committee for National Health and Safety amends the partial curfew to apply from 10pm to 5am daily, and bans all travellers from entering Iraq for the purpose of tourism,” a government statement said.
Daily tallies have increased rapidly in the past few weeks, with cases topping 4,000 infections every day.
On Sunday, Iraq recorded 4,348 new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 176,931.
The death toll increased by 75 cases, bringing the toll to 5,860.
Authorities have imposed a partial nationwide lockdown to control Covid-19 since early March.
Iraq’s religious calendar is filled with annual pilgrimages, attracting thousands if not millions of worshippers from Iran and elsewhere throughout the year.