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    Iraq limits entry of foreign pilgrims over COVID-19 fears

    Iraqi authorities on Sunday decided to restrict the entry of foreign pilgrims who came for the important Shiite ritual of Arbain for fear of the spread of COVID-19.

    Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi led a meeting of the High Committee for Health and National Security and decided to allow 30,000 pilgrims from neighboring Iran and 10,000 other countries to observe the Arbain ritual which will begin on September 27, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s media office.

    The decision also stipulates that foreign pilgrims must come with a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before arriving at Iraqi airports, the statement said.

    At the same time, the health ministry said it registered 4,897 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the nationwide total to 1,917,292.

    It also confirmed 58 additional deaths, for a toll of 21,100 virus-related deaths, while the total number of recoveries in Iraq increased by 7,706 to 1,771,707.

    The ministry also reported that 75,690 people had been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across the country, bringing the total number of doses administered to 3,684,546.

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