BAGHDAD, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday 3,896 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily record in 2021, bringing the total nationwide infections to 657,453.
It also reported 16 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 13,220.
Meanwhile, 1,691 cases recovered during the day, bringing the total recoveries to 612,727, the statement said.
Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi said in a press conference that 50 percent of the recent coronavirus cases were infected with the new strain of the virus.
“In the past three days, there were widespread coronavirus infections, and more than 50 percent of the cases were infected with the new strain of the virus, including severe cases among youth and children,” al-Tamimi said.
The minister warned of a danger due to the increase in critical cases and the cases entering hospitals, which poses great pressure on medical facilities.
He also called on citizens to abide by the restriction measures, including a curfew and other health-protective measures.
Al-Tamimi’s comments came hours before the Iraqi health authorities decided to impose a partial curfew for four days and a full curfew for three days every week during the period from Feb. 18 to March 8.
The Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs has approved the emergency use of China’s Sinopharm and Britain’s AstraZeneca vaccines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
From March 7 to April 26 in 2020, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help fight the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and install an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.
China has also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq. Enditem