Iraq limits entry of foreign pilgrims

Baghdad: Iraqi authorities have decided to limit the entry of foreign pilgrims for the major Shia ritual of Arbaeen over concerns of COVID-19 spread.

An official statement issued on Sunday said Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi headed a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety and decided to allow 30,000 pilgrims from neighbouring Iran and 10,000 from other countries to observe the Arbaeen ritual which will start on September 27, reports Xinhua news agency.

The decision also stipulated that foreign pilgrims bring negative results of PCR tests conducted within 72 hours before they arrive at Iraqi airports, the statement said.

Meanwhile, a statement by the ministry of health said that it recorded 4,897 COVID-19 new cases on Sunday, raising the nationwide caseload to 1,917,292.

It also confirmed 58 more deaths, bringing the death toll from the virus to 21,100, while the total recoveries climbed by 7,706 to 1,771,707.

It also said a total of 75,690 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 in the past 24 hours across the country, bringing the total number of doses administered to 3,684,546.