BAGHDAD, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday 5,173 new COVID-19 cases, the highest since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020, raising the total nationwide infections to 708,951.
It also reported 25 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 13,483, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 3,463 to 646,619.
A total of 6,963,270 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease, with 42,305 done during the day.
A statement by the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided to task the health ministry to evaluate the epidemiological situation to present a report on whether to continue curfew.
The committee stressed the need for citizens to adhere to health-protective measures and impose fines on the violators to curb the spread of the virus, the statement said.
It also stressed the need for the security forces to wear masks and punish violators, the statement added.
On Tuesday, Iraq received a shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Chinese government to help the country combat the pandemic.
Iraq has taken a series of measures to curb the recent rise in infections after the health ministry announced on Feb. 15 the detection of a new strain characterized by faster transmission and a higher level of severity.
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.