COVID-19: As new case numbers soar, Iraq's parliament suggests reinstating full curfew

Iraqi health workers prepare doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Mosul on July 29, 2021. (Photo: Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP)
Iraqi health workers prepare doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Mosul on July 29, 2021. (Photo: Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi parliament suggested on Thursday the possible reimposition of a complete curfew across the country in response to a dramatic and sustained increase in the number of coronavirus infections within its borders.

Deputy Speaker Bashir Haddad said in a press conference that health conditions in the embattled Middle Eastern nation were spiraling as a result of the Delta variant's spread, especially in Baghdad and other central and southern provinces.

He added that the Parliamentary Crisis Cell, formed to manage the nation's coronavirus response, is working with the Higher Committee for Health and Safety in order to figure out how to best confront the evolving threat.

Baghdad announced that it had recorded 11,871 new infections and 62 deaths over the past 24 hours, making a total of 1,684,955 patients having contracted the virus since the first case was confirmed in early 2020. Some 19,000 of them have died.

The Health Ministry also reported that cases among younger children were on the rise.

The Director-General of the Public Health Department, Riyadh Abdul Amir, said in a statement, "The current figures have proven a slight increase in the percentage of children infected with the coronavirus from 6 to 7 percent of total infections."

“There is no recommendation from the World Health Organization to vaccinate children, although a few countries have started, such as the United States and Britain.”

The Kurdistan Region's northern province of Dohuk has again designated a large portion of its largest hospital to be fully dedicated to treating the growing numbers of people infected with the coronavirus, largely due to the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant in the autonomous region of Iraq.

Read More: Kurdistan Region again dedicates much of Duhok's largest hospital to treating COVID-19

In a press conference on Thursday, Azadi General Hospital Director Sakfan Suleman stressed the crucial need for the general population to strictly follow all health instructions and preventive measures, such as masking and social distancing, in avoiding new case figures from skyrocketing further.

Editing by John J. Catherine