KRG reports no new coronavirus cases for third time in a week; infections still at 337
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region's Health Ministry on Sunday said they had recorded no new coronavirus disease cases over the past 24 hours, marking the third time in a week the authorities have reported no new infections.
A ministry statement said the authorities had conducted 1,265 tests over the past 24 hours: 487 in Erbil, 274 in Sulaimani, 451 in Duhok, 18 in Halabja, and 35 in Soran district of Erbil province. "No new infections were recorded across the Kurdistan Region."
The total number of people with the new coronavirus disease in the Kurdistan Region has reached 337, the statement noted. Out of the total, 260 have recovered, while four have succumbed to the virus. "The rest [73 patients] are under medical attention."
The ministry expressed its "deep appreciation" for the hard work of medical personnel on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. "We reiterate our call on the public not to leave their homes and adhere to the health instructions" to completely contain the disease, the statement concluded.
According to data available on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) website, the number of infected persons has only increased by five since last week. The Health Ministry has thrice reported no new cases within a 24-hour time frame.
As the number of people who are confirmed to have the coronavirus continues to decline, senior officials in the Kurdistan Region stressed that the disease, formally known as COVID-19, remains a grave threat to public health.
Health Minister Saman Barzinjy said last week, "We need more time to control the disease. We are still in the stage of danger."
In early March, the KRG ordered the closure of all religious services, as well as restaurants, coffee shops, and other entertainment or sports venues. This was followed by strict curfew measures two weeks later that the government has extended and expanded multiple times.
For the most part, the public at large has cooperated, but security forces have needed to enforce the new rules. Preventive measures also include ordering the closure of non-essential public facilities and private businesses, in addition to shutting down airports and border crossings.
The total number of cases the Iraqi authorities have reported, including data from the Kurdistan Region, currently stands at 1,513. An Iraqi Health Ministry statement on Saturday said 82 deaths so far have been due to COVID-19 complications. There are now 478 active cases, the ministry claims.
The highly-contagious disease has infected over 2.3 million people worldwide and killed close to 162,000, according to the latest government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting