'Not a good idea:' Experts concerned about pope trip to Iraq

A Christian priest holds a Vatican flag as he walks by a poster of Pope Francis during preparations for the Pope's visit in Mar Youssif Church in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Photo courtesy of AP/Photo/Hadi Mizban

Infectious disease experts are expressing concern about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq.

Posted: Feb 28, 2021 9:28 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Infectious disease experts are expressing concern about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq.

They are citing a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that Iraqis will crowd to see him.

No one wants to tell Francis not to make the March 5-8 visit, and the Iraqi government has every interest in welcoming a pope to the country for the first time and showing off its relative stability.

The pope and the media traveling with him have been vaccinated against the virus, but many Iraqis have not.

Public health experts say a papal trip to Iraq in the middle of a global pandemic is just not advisable.

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