Thu, 15 Apr 2021

BAGHDAD, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Friday 4,336 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 688,698.

The new cases included 1,434 in the capital Baghdad, 756 in Basra, 508 in Najaf, 293 in Karbala, and 253 in Babil, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also reported 14 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 13,365, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 2,460 to 630,178.

A total of 6,773,982 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020, with 45,907 done during the day.

Haider Majeed, spokesman of the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers, told the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) that the Ministry of Health assigned 52 hospitals and 506 health centers across the country to vaccinate the citizens.

The Iraqi health authorities expect to receive the first batch of coronavirus vaccines in a few days, as the Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs has approved the emergency use of China's Sinopharm and Britain's AstraZeneca vaccines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to curb the rise in infections after the Ministry of Health announced on Feb. 15 the detection of a new strain of coronavirus characterized by higher levels of severity and faster transmission.

The restrictive measures included a partial curfew for four days and a full curfew for three days every week from Feb. 18 to March 8.

From March 7 to April 26 in 2020, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help fight the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and install an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

China has also sent batches of medical aid to Iraq.

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