Kurdistan PM warns that lax attitude toward COVID-19 measures is causing spike in cases
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Friday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued a statement of warning that the public's lackluster attitude toward government health guidelines is the cause of a recent sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases in Kurdistan Region.
“Due to less-than-strict adherence to the health measures, the pandemic is about to spread quickly,” Prime Minister Barzani warned, describing the danger as “very serious.”
“Some parties have tried to politicize and devalue the government's efforts, as they have put the lives of citizens in danger for the sake of serving their political goals,” he continued.
“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.”
The Prime Minister’s latest statement comes as the Kurdistan Region has recently witnessed an uptick COVID-19 cases. In the past 24 hours, health officials have recorded 34 new COVID-19 cases in Erbil and Sulaimani provinces. According to the latest figures from the KRG's health ministry, there have been 566 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region, including 409 recoveries and five fatalities.
“We appreciate your adherence to health measures at the beginning of the outbreak, which contained it to a great extent and this success was welcomed and praised by many countries and international organizations,” Barzani noted.
In late April, the main World Health Organization (WHO) office in Iraq applauded the success of the KRG's efforts to combat the disease.
“I want to congratulate the Kurdistan Region on their achievement in fighting the coronavirus,” said an official from the organization. “The rate of COVID-19 infections and fatalities in the region is very low compared to other Iraqi governorates.”
In Barzani's Friday statement, he said, “I, again, urge all of my fellow citizens to adhere to the health measures and not put their lives and health in danger due to political propaganda,” Prime Minister urged.
“Your safety is the most important thing for us.”
The coronavirus has infected over 5.8 million people worldwide and killed more than 360,000, according to government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting.
Editing by John J. Catherine