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Iraq Resumes Flight Operations, Opens Baghdad Airport Despite Rise in Covid-19 Cases

Baghdad International Airport reopened for scheduled commercial flights on Thursday after months of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Iraq especially hard in recent weeks.

The country has recorded 102,226 coronavirus infections and 4,122 deaths, and regularly reports more than 2,000 new cases each day. Thursday's tally was 2,361, according to health ministry figures.

Iraq suspended all flights to and from Baghdad in March, with only irregular or chartered flights operating and advance permission required for travel. The measures accompanied the closure of land borders and a general curfew. The reopening comes with safeguards to contain the spread of the virus.

Some passengers travelling from the airport are required to take a swab test several days before their flights, and incoming passengers must all to take a test 48 hours before boarding Baghdad-bound planes, a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said.

Passengers were being scanned for temperatures as they arrived at the airport, and some social distancing was enforced at stages such as passport control but not while people boarded flights.

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