COVID-19: Kurdistan reports 9 new cases as Iraq, again, breaks daily record

The Kurdistan Region Health Ministry said on Friday that it recorded nine new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, as federal Iraqi authorities reported 416 new infections, once again breaking its record set just a day earlier.
author_image Khrush Najari

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region Health Ministry said on Friday that it recorded nine new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, as federal Iraqi authorities reported 416 new infections, once again breaking its record set just a day earlier.

Read More: Iraq and Kurdistan both announce record daily COVID-19 infections

The new cases in Iraqi provinces outside the autonomous Kurdistan Region came after health workers conducted 5,246 coronavirus tests, raising the total to over 216,000 given, as per numbers provided by the national health ministry on Friday.

Over 260 of the cases were recorded in relatively densely-populated Baghdad province, a ministry statement said. The latest addition brings the total number of infections across the country to around 5,873 infections, including 3,044 recoveries and 185 deaths, the statement added.

The ministry noted that 45 patients are currently in intensive care units.

The Kurdistan Region has its own health ministry and conducts tests separately. Daily testing results conducted by the Kurdish officials are typically announced later in the day than the federal government's figures and are then added to the next day's national tally.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) health workers conducted over 1,100 examinations for the highly-contagious disease, first reported by Chinese authorities in late 2019 and has since spread globally, infecting nearly 6 million people and killing just under 367,000 of them, according to government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting.

Specialized laboratories in the Kurdistan Region have carried out close to 74,000 coronavirus tests in total, the regional health ministry said in a statement late Friday, noting that the total number of patients has risen to 676, including five deaths and 409 recoveries.

In recent weeks, the number of active cases across the country has increased dramatically following the easing of lockdown restrictions in late April amid a strained national economy.

Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinjy warned Thursday that “the spread of the virus has accelerated” as the region has reopened and “some citizens are not following the health safety guidelines.”

Sulaimani Health Directorate spokesman, Dr. Yad Naqishbandi, stated his concerns regarding the recent spike in the number of cases when speaking to Kurdistan 24 on Friday. He warned that should the current circumstances continue, coronavirus-dedicated hospitals would reach capacity and only receive patients whose conditions are particularly unstable.

This could potentially lead to a further spread of the virus since it would be more difficult to isolate infected individuals from their surroundings amid the loosened curfew.

Naqishbandi reiterated the calls of health officials and professionals on the public to adhere to safety guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani described the situation as “very serious” in a strongly worded statement on Friday that accused “some” regional entities of trying to “politicize” the current situation.

Read More: Kurdistan PM warns that lax attitude toward COVID-19 measures is causing spike in cases

“Those who acted against health measures and discouraged people now have to take the responsibility of putting people’s lives and health in danger,” Barzani charged, adding, “They have got to stop gambling with the lives of people.” 

Editing by John J. Catherine