An Iraqi refugee at an Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in the northern region of the country has tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, in what some are calling a “nightmare scenario.”
Charles Lister, Director of the Middle Eastern Institute, first reported the positive test Thursday.
Lister said that there are about one million refugees in Iraq.
Refugee camps are notoriously unsanitary and overcrowded.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed the case, and said that as of March 10, there were 71 cases of the disease in Iraq, along with seven deaths.
“The first suspected cases of COVID-19 were documented in an IDP camp in Ninewa; the affected persons were transported to hospital, and a makeshift isolation unit was put in place. Sterilization activities are under way,” an OCHA report said.
The Guardian recently reported that the pandemic illness could sweep through the war-torn Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria.
“Health officials in both countries remain under-equipped to deal with such a a reality that seems more possible with each passing day,” the report said.
The United States took action to curb the virus, halting flights from China, Iran, and the European Union, the latter of which has become the epicenter of the worldwide outbreak.
Just before publication, Vice President Mike Pence announced that President Donald J. Trump had extended the travel ban to the United Kingdom and Ireland, effective Monday.
Still, there’s been no word on whether the United States will halt its refugee program during the outbreak.
In fact, Breitbart reported just the opposite: that Democrat lawmakers are seeking to increase the number of refugees they bring to our shores, despite the pandemic.
“This week, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a plan to increase the inflow of refugee resettlement by more than 500 percent — hiking annual refugee admissions to at least 110,000,” Breitbart said.
“The push to increase legal immigration comes as the U.S. grapples with the spread of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.”
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