Iraq reports highest 1,635 new COVID-19 cases

The Iraqi health ministry recorded 1,635 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since the outbreak of the disease, bringing the total nationwide infections to 27,352.

The new cases included 517 in the capital Baghdad, 173 in Sulaimaniyah, 154 in Babil, 110 in Maysan and 103 in Wasit, the ministry said in a statement on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The statement also reported 69 deaths during the day, the highest single-day rise so far, bringing the death toll in the country to 925, while 12,205 patients have recovered.

The new cases were recorded after 11,226 testing kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 425,192 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said in a statement that the ministry’s experts decided to use a drug from Russia to treat COVID-19.

“Iraq started manufacturing the Russian medicine and will be available in health institutions at the end of the coming week,” al-Tamimi said.

As for the vaccine to treat COVID-19, al-Tamimi said the ministry experts and advisors are in connection with the international companies and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“If there is a vaccine to be produced in the world, Iraq will be the first to benefit from,” he promised.

Al-Tamimi’s comment came two days after a video conference meeting between the officials and experts of the Iraqi and Russian ministries to discuss the treatment protocols of COVID-19.

However, Adham Ismail, the WHO representative in Iraq, warned in a press release on Thursday that the Russian drug “is not yet licensed for global use, and it is only authorized by Russia.”

“Iraq can use this drug in clinical experiments, provided that the amount of import to be small, and for the purpose of the experiment, not to use it on all citizens,” Ismail said.

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 an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

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