Iraq airspace reopens after months of virus lockdown

Iraq reopened to commercial flights on Thursday after four months of lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, which brought the country's fragile economy to its knees, AFP reports. 

Planes were wheels up on Thursday morning from Baghdad International Airport destined for Lebanon and Turkey. 

Before boarding, passengers were required to show negative COVID-19 test results to airport staff wearing masks and gloves.

Iraqi authorities lifted other restrictions earlier this month, allowing malls and shops to reopen and delaying the start of overnight curfews to 9:30 pm (1830 GMT).

Restaurants and coffee shops remain closed to customers but are allowed to fulfil takeaway or delivery orders.

A full lockdown will be briefly reimposed at the end of July for the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday before being entirely lifted.

Some medics fear a return to normal life is premature as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, reaching nearly 100,000 with more than 4,000 deaths.


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