Francis’ plane touched down at Baghdad’s airport just before 2 p.m. local time. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on hand to greet him.
Infectious disease experts are expressing concern about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq, given a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that Iraqis will crowd to see him.
The Vatican on Monday released the itinerary of Francis’ March 5-8 visit to Iraq, his first foreign trip since being grounded for 16 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Iraq’s top Catholic official said Thursday that a deadly suicide bombing in Baghdad hasn’t thwarted Pope Francis’ plans to visit.
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, decries the sectarianism that is prevalent in his country.