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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Trade Bank of Iraq provides $5m to fight coronavirus spread

Funds will be used to allow Ministry of Health to buy necessary equipment
Faisal Al Haimus, chairman & president of Trade Bank of Iraq announced a $5 million in funding to fight coronavirus. Antonie Robertson/The National

State-backed Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) will provide $5 million (Dh18.3m) in funding to support the Iraqi Ministry of Health’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The fund will help the ministry acquire appropriate resources needed to detect the virus early and put “effective quarantine efforts” in place.

“With the number of people affected by the virus around the world increasing drastically, it is important for the public sector and private sector to come together in these dire times to help the people and do everything in our capacity to prevail over this crisis,” Faisal Al Haimus, chairman & president of Trade Bank of Iraq, said.

The bank, which is the country's largest trade finance institution, was established in July 2003 with the aim of helping the reconstruction of Iraq by facilitating international trade after the end of the United Nations' oil-for-food programme.

“TBI was built to work towards the welfare of the people of Iraq and we feel it’s our duty to help the government’s efforts to protect the Iraqi citizens from this pandemic," said Mr Al Haimus.

Coronavirus cases in Iraq have been steadily on the rise, with at least 110 cases of infections and 10 deaths so far.

The government enforced a curfew in Baghdad from this week while flights from the city will be suspended from today to March 24 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Officials have also banned domestic travel.

The majority of infections in Iraq have spread from neighbouring Iran - the most affected country after China, where the virus first originated, and Italy. Iraq's first coronavirus case was an Iranian student and many other residents who became infected had recently visited Iran.

Last week, Iraq also temporarily suspended trade on its border crossings with Iran and Kuwait in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Globally, the coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 188,000 people and the death toll has crossed 7,000.

Updated: March 17, 2020 07:27 PM