8:48 a.m. Bst
Iraq has banned the Reuters news agency from operating in Iraq for three months for reporting that the number of corona cases in the country was much higher than the authorities had admitted.
The agency said the actual number of people suffering from the virus could be thousands higher than the official count of 772 and that the scale of the epidemic has been downplayed to avoid public panic.
The report gives impetus to concerns reported in The Guardian on Monday that state figures for suspected Covid 19 patients in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon may be significantly lower than actual figures. Hezbollah said it is opening treatment centers in southern Lebanon that complement the state’s health care system. However, there is concern that a parallel state structure may mask an actual number of people infected with the virus.
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8:40 a.m. Bst
My name is Sarah Marsh and I’m a Guardian reporter. Please share your thoughts with me, or any other news advice from where you are this morning.
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