COVID-19 Updates: Iraq reports 51 new cases, as KRG, again, says no new infections

The number of reported active cases across Iraq has witnessed another uptick recently.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Ministry of Health and the Environment on Monday announced it had recorded 51 new coronavirus cases and one death over the past 24 hours. Kurdistan Region authorities, meanwhile, said there had been no new infections in the region over the same time period.

A federal health ministry statement noted that, out of 2,548 tests conducted in Iraq over the past 24 hours, 51 had come back positive. The regional health ministry in its announcement said all 976 coronavirus examinations over 1the same period had returned negative.

The federal ministry outlined that the total number of coronavirus had reached 2,818 cases, including 110 deaths and 1,790 recoveries. The Kurdistan Region’s number remains at 391 confirmed cases, including five deaths, and 372 recoveries, the regional health ministry said on Monday.

Related Article: KRG reports decline in active COVID-19 cases; Iraq’s total infections near 2,700

The number of reported active cases across Iraq has witnessed an increase recently, leading the central government to issue an extension on its curfew, active between 5 pm till 5 am during the holy month of Ramadan. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), however, continues to report a daily drop in apparent active cases, with hospitals now hosting only 14 coronavirus patients.

In late April, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) 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," he said. "The rate of COVID-19 infections and fatalities in the region is very low compared to other Iraqi governorates."

Read More: WHO congratulates Kurdistan Region on coronavirus response

As government-provided data indicates a steady increase in new coronavirus cases in Iraq, Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi warned on Monday that several areas in the country are becoming “hotspots” for the spread of the virus. He stated that should the situation continue as such, Baghdad would be forced to consider re-instituting a strict country-wide curfew.

“We warn of the danger of the current infection rates in several regions in Iraq that have become hotspots for the spread of the disease to other areas as a result of the failure of most residents to comply with [health] instructions,” Tamimi said in a statement.

Related Article: Basra tightens curfew as virus cases rise; other Iraqi provinces ease restrictions

He affirmed that the public needs to adhere to preventative measures—such as wearing protective equipment when outside, avoiding places and events with large gatherings—to prevent a further spike in the number of cases.

“The continuation of infections at current rates prompts us to study several options, including re-applying the comprehensive or regional curfew to protect citizens from the risks of the pandemic and reduce the catastrophic effects on the health and lives of our people in Iraq.”

The health ministry will continue to coordinate with state and non-state authorities “to curb the spread of the virus and protect citizens.”

Read More: Iraq reports 88 new COVID-19 cases, none in Kurdistan; curfews extended

Editing by Khrush Najari