Coronavirus: Iraq and Jordan to unite against contagious disease

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Iraq and Jordan said they will unite in curbing the novel coronavirus pandemic as Baghdad recorded its highest daily increase in cases on Wednesday.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday and held talks with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and other top officials.

The officials agreed on the importance of uniting in curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has infected over 9 million people worldwide and killed nearly half a million, according to the John Hopkins University.

“This will be through the exchange of experiences, health and technical capabilities to avoid any crises,” Mr Hussein said during a press conference with Mr Al Safadi.

Iraq recorded 2200 new cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily increase since the outbreak of the pandemic earlier this year.

It has 36,702 infected cases and 1,330 deaths but many believe the numbers are much higher.

The country’s health system has been depleted by years of conflict and corruption, and officials complained that they were not prepared to deal with a full-blown crisis.

Local reports indicated that hospitals around the country have run out of oxygen tubes meaning that those in critical conditions will not be able to receive the treatment they need.

The northern governorate of Nineveh said it will place a curfew starting on Wednesday from 6 in the evening following a rise in infected cases.

“We want a safe and secure region,” Mr Al Safadi said during a press conference with Mr Hussein.

“Jordan stands with Iraq in assisting the country to ensure stability and security,” he said.

Jordan has been praised for it's tough approach to curbing the virus.

For almost two months Jordan enforced a complete lockdown across the country to maintain the spreading of the virus.

Amman said it contained the first wave of the disease this month and is now reopening most businesses and life is slowly returning back to normal.

Mr Hussein expressed his “appreciation towards Jordan for the attention and care it has given to Iraqis residing in Jordan”

Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan, Haidar Al Athari, said Mr Al Safadi’s visit reflects the historical and deep-rooted relations between the two states.

Mr Al Safadi said that Baghdad and Amman will work together to combat terrorism.

“We will work side by side in combating terror through security and defence co-operation,” he said.

The two ministers discussed ways to ensure Iraq’s reconstruction efforts are supported and to distance the country from regional conflicts.

A woman, wearing a protective face mask, sanitises a machine before a training session at a gym in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. AFP

Iraqi policemen stand at a checkpoint during curfew in Karbala, south of Baghdad, Iraq. EPA

A customer, wearing a protective mask, gets his temperature checked before entering a supermarket in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. AFP

A worker wearing a protective face mask disinfects the training equipment at a gym in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reuters

A customer, wearing a protective mask, gets his temperature checked after passing through an automatic disinfection booth at the entrance of a supermarket in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. AFP

Jordanian chef Omar Sartawi and designers Princess Nejla Asem and Salam Dajani work to design sustainable face masks using eggplant skin at Dajani's workshop in Amman, Jordan. Reuters

Jordanian designers Princess Nejla Asem and Salam Dajani work to design sustainable face masks using eggplant skin at Dajani's workshop in Amman, Jordan. Reuters

Tunisian Minister of Culture Chiraz Latiri speaks during a press conference in Tunis, Tunisia. Latiri said that the cultural sector was the most affected in the country by the Covid-19 crisis, as several hundred cultural activities were postponed until next year, and cultural venues and centres, as well as libraries, had to be closed due to the pandemic. EPA

A ship coming from Morocco is seen as it enters the port in Algeciras, southern Spain. EPA

The move comes as the foreign ministry announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi will visit Washington next month, in his first official trip abroad since taking office last month.

The visit will be “to continue dialogue with the United States,” Mr Hussein said.

The two sides started talks this month on the future of US troops in Iraq and progress in the fight against ISIS, as well as strengthening the Iraqi economy.

Parliament voted to expel all foreign soldiers from Iraqi territory in January, but the decision was not ratified and implemented.

Updated: June 24, 2020 08:21 PM

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