Implications of the Coronavirus for Iraq

By Aymen Al-Faisal, for the Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Implications of the Coronavirus on the Overall Situation in Iraq

With the spread of the coronavirus globally, many countries around the world face several challenges in the absence of any looming solutions so far.

Economies are the most affected by this virus that led to restrict the movement and the freedom of travel between countries, limit the transport of goods by sea and land, and raise spending on precautionary measures to limit the virus spread.

Since the discovery of the virus in January, the stock market has not declined only in China, but it has impacted the Asian and the American markets as well.

Click here to read the full article.

Iraq Extends Curfew to 11th April

By John Lee.

The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Thursday under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Thamir Ghadhban.

It reviewed the impact of restrictions to contain covid-19, including curfews, on the health, financial and service sectors, and discussed measures to lessen the burden on Iraqis, receiving briefings from the Minister of Health, Dr. Jaafar Allawi and senior officials on current measures to contain the spread of the epidemic in Iraq.

The Cabinet urged all citizens to abide by curfew regulations and follow the advice of health professionals, including practicing social distancing and avoiding gathering for their own safety and that of all Iraqis.

The Cabinet discussed measures to ensure food security, continuation of essential services, transport of agricultural produce between provinces and requests from a number of Iraqi citizens abroad who wish to return home but are unable to do so because of current restrictions on air travel in several countries.

The Cabinet thanked the Crisis Cell for its role in mobilising national efforts to contain Covid-19, and expressed its gratitude to Iraqi health teams, security forces, volunteers and community leaders for their hard work and dedication at this difficult time.

The Cabinet decided to:

  • Extend the curfew to 11 April 2020 in all regions of Iraq, and for current exemptions to be maintained;
  • Direct all ministries, public bodies and local authorities to use their financial and other resources such as vehicles and equipment to support the Crisis Cell and the Ministry of Health
  • Authorise the Minister of Health to allow some health professionals who have reached retirement age to continue in their posts for the duration of the crisis.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US provides Aid to help Iraq fight Coronavirus

The US Embassy in Baghdad announced today that is providing $670,000 to help Iraq fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's announcement shows the strength of the US and Iraqi partnership, and we are committed to fighting this pandemic alongside the Iraqi people," said US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller. "Support provided through the [World Health Organization] will directly enhance the country's ability to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Click here to read the full article.

IFC Invests in Hospital in Erbil

By John Lee.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing over $26 million in a new 161-bed hospital in Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The facility will increase the availability of quality healthcare services and help address gaps in the country's healthcare infrastructure. The $92 million Seema Hospital project is expected to open its doors in 2021. In addition to providing core health services, it will be one of the city's first private hospitals with oncology, radiotherapy, and burn units.

Treatment capacity in existing public and private healthcare facilities in Iraq is limited, with damages to the system estimated at $2.3 billion because of the conflict, according to a World Bank report. The hospital is owned by the Macrom Company for General Trading.

Yaseen Al Bazzaz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macrom Company for General Trading, said

"Since opening our first hospital in 2006, we have grown into a leading provider of specialized health care services ... Hundreds of patients are traveling desperately to neighboring countries for their medical needs. This will change once Seema Hospital opens and provides top-notch healthcare solutions."

IFC is also contributing technical expertise, advising on environmental and social best practices, and providing guidance on corporate governance. The project is part of the World Bank Group's strategy in Iraq to develop social infrastructure. Seema Hospital also will be one of the first buildings in Iraq to be certified by IFC EDGE, a platform that helps to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green buildings.

Tomasz Telma, IFC's Senior Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services, said:

"Iraq is a priority country for IFC, and we are committed to supporting its economic growth and health infrastructure ... Investing in quality hospitals helps improve care, especially where there is often limited access to effective secondary and tertiary facilities, and introduce expertise, technology, and best practices to these markets."  

IFC has increased its investments in Iraq during the last decade. Its committed portfolio stands at about $254 million, up from $20 million in 2010.

As Iraq and other countries battle COVID-19, the World Bank Group, in response to the crisis, has announced $14 billion package of financing to help support  countries to strengthen health systems and improve disease surveillance worldwide.

(Source: IFC)

Govt, Clerics Unite Against COVID-19

By Hassan Ali Ahmed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

 Iraqi government officials, clerics unite against COVID-19

As the number of coronavirus cases grows rapidly in Iraq, the Shiite religious establishment is offering to help the government, campaigning against extremist groups that oppose health experts' recommendation to close holy shrines and mosques.

On March 24, Iraq reported a total of 316 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths, an increase of 50 new cases and four more deaths overnight, a substantial increase in number.

Click here to read the full article.

Coronavirus forces partial US Troop Drawdown

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Coronavirus forces partial US troop drawdown in Iraq

The US-led global coalition to defeat the Islamic State announced today that the coronavirus pandemic has forced "temporary adjustments" in the mission against the terrorist group.

"The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the Iraqi and Syrian people, and to our mission, led to temporary adjustments to protect the force during this period, in full coordination with the Iraqi authorities," the coalition said in a joint statement today released by the US State Department.

Click here to read the full article.

AMAR COVID-19 Appeal

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the world. Governments of even the wealthiest countries are struggling to cope with the scale of the Pandemic. For Iraq this is nothing short of disaster. Iraq's health care system is in almost permanent crisis, constantly on the brink of collapse.

Only days ago, its Health Minister, Jafar Allawi, was seen on television pleading to Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shia Muslims, for help. His government had failed to agree to Allawi's plea for emergency funding to cope with the Corona crisis.

Iraq is a country devastated by decades of war, internecine conflict, dictatorship, corruption and poverty, and now its beleaguered staff and broken infrastructure is being asked to deal with one of the most virulent viruses the world has ever known.

The hundreds of thousands of Yazidi IDPs living in the sprawling camps in the north are particularly at risk. AMAR field teams are doing all they can to limit the spread by dispensing much needed advice and support to those most in need.

For the last 27 years, AMAR has been at the forefront of efforts to support and enhance the Iraqi health care system. We have built, refurbished and run more than 75 health care centres, our medical professionals have carried out almost 11 million consultations, and our teams have been caring for and supporting hundreds of thousands of Yazidi IDPs since the ISIS invasion of 2014.

To continue to do this we need your support. Without our amazing donors we could not have achieved so much for more than a quarter of a century. Today, with COVID-19 the very latest threat to the lives and livelihoods of the poor Iraqi people, we need your help more than ever.

ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN DONATE DONATE BY CHEQUE DONATE BY UK CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD

Search for us on Virgin money giving under AMAR International Charitable Foundation or go to our website www.amarfoundation.org

We are delighted to add that the appeal is being backed by the Joss Stone Foundation (@JossStone) which aims to raise awareness and support for more than 200 charities globally. Thank you so much Joss!

SUPPORT AMAR ICF VIA VIRGIN MONEY HERE

or

PLEASE FIND THE DONATION FORM HERE

(Source: IBBC)

Video: Pilgrimage Continues despite Coronavirus

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq has so far registered 214 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths.

To prevent further spread of the virus, the government imposed a weeklong curfew in Baghdad and other cities and cancelled all domestic flights.

But security forces are still struggling to enforce the lockdown.

Al Jazeera's Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad:

Is Iraq taking Necessary Measures to Prevent COVID-19?

By Lujain Elbaldawi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Is Iraq taking necessary measures to prevent COVID-19 spread?

As coronavirus spreads across the globe, the number of infected people in Iraq is still manageable.

Though the country has taken strict measures to reduce infections, Iraqi officials are worried that the situation could deteriorate, and announced that other tight measures to prevent the virus' spread will be taken soon.

Click here to read the full story.

Iraq Curfew to Slow the spread of Coronavirus

The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Thamir Ghadhban.

The Cabinet received a detailed briefing from the Minister of Health on the range of new measures being implemented to contain COVID-19. These measures include:

  • Declaring a curfew in Baghdad for a week starting on 17 March
  • Directing relevant authorities to fumigate and disinfect several areas and districts
  • Authorising governors to impose curfews in their provinces
  • Suspending flights for a week from 17 March
  • Increasing internet bandwith/capacity
  • Banning travel between Iraqi provinces

The Cabinet reassured the public that deliveries of food, fuel, medicine, other essentials as well as the imports of goods into Iraq, are unaffected by the curfews.

The Cabinet approved a recommendation from the Social Services Council to declare the day of the Arabeen commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him, as the National Day for Volunteer Work in Iraq.

For the latest updates and guidance on the COVID-19, please visit the Ministry of Health Facebook page (in Arabic) https://www.facebook.com/MOH.GOV.IQ/

(Source: Govt of Iraq)