Coronavirus: Isis tells followers not to travel to Europe for attacks because of outbreak

Kashmiri demonstrators hold up an Isis flag in Srinagar on July 18, 2014 (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
Kashmiri demonstrators hold up an Isis flag in Srinagar on July 18, 2014 (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

Isis has warned its followers to avoid travelling to Europe because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Reversing its previous calls for jihadists to target the area, the terrorist group advised supporters not to enter “the land of the epidemic”.

It also appeared to back guidance to the public to wash their hands regularly.

The directive is featured in the latest issue of the group’s al-Naba newsletter, which contains a full-page of “directives to deal with epidemics” taken from Islamic texts.

Isis highlights “the obligation of taking up the causes of protection from illnesses and avoiding them”.

“The healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the newsletter adds.

In a departure from official guidance from the World Health Organisation, the Isis guidance to supporters includes covering the mouth when yawning and sneezing, as well as sealing off water containers.

One featured hadith, or saying of the prophet, reads: “There is one night in the year when pestilence descends, and it does not pass by any vessel that is not covered or any waterskin that is not tied up, but some of that pestilence descends into it.”

The number of confirmed cases in Europe has passed 50,000, with more than 24,000 in Italy alone.

Outbreaks of coronavirus have also been reported in other countries where Isis are active, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia

On Sunday the Iraqi government imposed a week-long curfew in the capital Baghdad after the total number of cases rose to at least 124.

The curfew, which includes a suspension of all flights to and from Baghdad airport, lasts from 17 March until 24 March.

Ten people have died in the country so far, according to the health ministry.

Additional reporting by agencies

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