Iraq reports 8,179 new COVID-19 cases, 941,078 in total

The Nation  |  Apr 13, 2021

The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday 8,179 new coronavirus cases, raising the total nationwide infections to 941,078, while the ministry warned of the seriousness of the epidemiological situation in the country.

The new cases included 2,749 in Iraqi capital Baghdad, 1,038 in Basra, 572 in Sulaimaniyah, 562 in Wasit, and 477 in Erbil, while the other cases were detected in other provinces, the ministry said in a statement.

It also reported 39 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 14,796, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 5,791 to 826,323.

A total of 8,599,946 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020, with 47,366 done during the day.

It said that 14,265 people were vaccinated during the past 24 hours across the country, bringing the total number of doses received to 167,453.

The increase in infections recently prompted the ministry to issue a statement indicating that "the epidemiological situation is witnessing a dangerous development in recent days, with the infection rates increasing at rates unprecedented since the start of the pandemic."

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"It is a direct result of the continuous human gatherings and overcrowding in public and private facilities, with no commitment to wearing masks by citizens," the statement said.

It said that the continuing increase in infections due to the neglect of health-protective measures could threaten the country's health system, whose institutions may not be able to deal with the large numbers of infections.

The ministry called on Iraqis to adhere to health-protective measures and stay away from social gatherings, especially the meetings of collective breakfast meals, or Iftar, during the Ramadan, according to the statement.

It also urged citizens to go to health centers to take vaccines to curb the spread of the virus, confirming that vaccines are effective, safe, and approved by the World Health Organization.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to curb the recent rise in infections after the Health Ministry announced on Feb. 15 the detection of a new strain characterized by faster transmission and a higher level of severity.

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The Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs has approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccines, in addition to AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Sputnik V vaccines.

Since the early stage of the pandemic in 2020, the Chinese government has sent medical aid to Iraq and donated two shipments of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to the country to help combat the pandemic.

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