COVID-19: Iraq reports highest number of daily infections, as virus threatens to get out of control

The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment announced on Friday the country’s highest single-day tally of coronavirus infections during the past 24 hours, with the tally reaching over 3,300.
author_image Halgurd Sherwani

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment announced on Friday the country’s highest single-day tally of coronavirus infections during the past 24 hours, with the tally reaching over 3,300. 

The ministry reported that Iraq had conducted 17,634 COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours. Of those, 3,346 tests came back positive, marking the highest number of daily infections, since the virus first appeared in Iraq in late February.

Iraq enters Dangerous Phase of the Pandemic?

According to Worldometer, a website which, as it boasts, provides “Real Time World Statistics,” Iraq has been recording over 1,000 infections daily, since early June.

The start of the rise in Iraqi cases follows on the re-opening in mid-May of Iraq’s borders with Iran, the original epicenter of the disease in the Middle East.

The two-week period between the re-opening of the border with Iran and the start of the spread of the virus in Iraq corresponds roughly with the incubation period for COVID-19.

Read More: COVID-19 spikes again in Iran, with regional implications

Notably, the number of coronavirus cases in Iraq is increasing on a regular, daily basis, as the disease appears to be spreading exponentially.

Credit: Worldometers.info, updated as of July 31, 2020, 15:42 GMT
Credit: Worldometers.info, updated as of July 31, 2020, 15:42 GMT

Iraq seems to have entered a dangerous phase of the pandemic in which each successive day brings a new record in the number of infections, and, as a consequence, the disease becomes harder and harder to contain.

If the coronavirus does expand to the point that it is truly out of control in Iraq, it will be a serious challenge for Kurdish authorities to prevent the same thing from happening in the Kurdistan Region.

Other Statistics

The Iraqi Health Ministry also announced 70 COVID-19-related fatalities over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of deaths in the country to 4,741.

The confirmed cases of the virus in Iraq reached 124,609, while it has 32,434 active cases, according to the health ministry.

In a bid to mitigate the risk of the further spread of the coronavirus during the Eid al-Adha holiday, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Iraq’s High Committee for Health and National Safety has imposed a comprehensive curfew, starting from July 30 and lasting until August 9.

Read More: COVID-19: Iraq declares holiday lockdown, reports over 2,400 more cases

In addition to the re-imposition of a curfew, Iraqi authorities have intensified their efforts to spread awareness of the disease, and the measures required to counter it, through various public channels, including broadcast and social media.

However, controlling the coronavirus is a difficult task. Even countries with a much bigger, more sophisticated scientific and medical base and a more robust health infrastructure are facing serious challenges, and it remains to be seen what will happen in Iraq.

Editing by Laurie Mylroie