Mon, 25 Jan 2021

BAGHDAD, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Health Ministry reported on Thursday 2,039 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 558,767.

The new cases included 612 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 287 in Nineveh, 261 in Kirkuk, 120 in Diyala, and 101 in Babil, while the other cases were detected in the other provinces, the ministry said in a statement.

It also reported 21 new deaths and 1,550 more recovered cases in the country, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,361 and the total recoveries to 487,863.

A total of 3,576,592 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February, with 32,870 done during the day, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Health Ministry said in a statement that it had carried out several rounds of talks with drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech to purchase the company's COVID-19 vaccine, stressing that there are conditions set earlier by Iraqi advisory committees for vaccines, which were approved by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

One of the most important conditions was the approval of the vaccine by international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the statement said, adding that the ministry is preparing for a meeting with the Pfizer company to discuss the mechanism of securing logistical issues.

The ministry is also in contact with the multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and other companies, but it is also awaiting approval by international organizations for its COVID-19 vaccine to start the negotiations, according to the statement.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first coronavirus case appeared in the country.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

From March 7 to April 26, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help contain the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and install an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

Since March 7, China has also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq.

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