KRG reports dramatic spike in daily COVID-19 cases, with 326 new cases
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region health authorities on Sunday reported 326 new coronavirus cases in a single day, raising the total number of infections since the disease first entered the autonomous region to over 3,800.
A health ministry statement said that out of 1,875 tests medical workers conducted in a day, 326 had returned positive, a substantial increase from Saturday’s numbers when the government reported 266 cases, the previous record. Of the new cases, again, most were in Sulaimani province, with 245.
The statement also listed that only 34 people had recovered, while 12 more patients had succumbed to the disease. The total number of infections has now risen to 3,865, including 1,392 recoveries, 2,363 active cases, and 110 fatalities.
The Iraqi health ministry on Sunday announced 87 deaths and about 1,650 new coronavirus infections across the country in the past 24 hours, raising the national total to 30,868 cases and 1,100 deaths due to coronavirus-related complications.
While the virus was relatively contained in March and April in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region – amid a total shutdown, and as the infection spread worldwide – May and June saw dramatic spikes in the number of daily cases as the country reopened.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinjy noted that due to lax health measures at border checkpoints (referring mostly to the posts on the Iranian border with which Sulaimani shares the region’s largest stretch of land), many coronavirus carriers had entered the Kurdistan Region since late May, leading to the current wave of new infections.
On June 10, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq, Dr. Adham Ismail, described the situation to Kurdistan 24 in similar terms, stating that the pre-mature resumption of trade with neighboring Iran, by both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, had been a significant factor in the dramatic spike in new cases of the deadly disease.
Barzinjy also reiterated that the lack of public adherence to health regulations – measures such as social distancing, wearing medical masks outside, and preventing large gatherings – and alleged misinformation and politicization of the disease had hampered efforts to contain the virus.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany