Shiite pilgrims walk outside the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq Image Credit: AP

Baghdad: The Iraqi Health Ministry has announced two more deaths and six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases to 60 in the country, of whom up to six have died.

The six new detected cases were one case in each of the provinces of Muthanna, Anbar, Dhi Qar, Najaf, Maysan and the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the ministry said on Sunday in a statement, Xinhua reported.

It also said that the two new deaths were registered in the two provinces of Maysan and Babil.

So far, Iraq has reported a total of 60 COVID-19 cases, with 27 in the capital Baghdad, seven in the province of Kirkuk, seven in Sulaimaniyah, six in Najaf, three in Wasit, two each in Diyala, Karbala and Maysan and one in Babil, Muthanna, Anbar and Dhi Qar.

The Iraqi authorities have been taking a series of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after cases were confirmed in the country.

Iraqi authorities ordered the closure of the Najaf province, home to holy Muslim Shi'ites sites, for non-residents starting on Wednesday for a week to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the state news agency said on Monday.

Najaf is a major destination for Shi'ite pilgrims.

Iraq has banned all public gatherings and called on citizens to avoid visiting sacred cities and sites to stop the spread of the coronavirus, an official statement said on Monday.

Authorities also called on Iraqis arriving from Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Kuwait and Bahrain to stay at home for self-quarantine for 14 days, the statement said.