Iraqi MP predicts rise of COVID-19 cases over ease of restrictions

A member of the Iraqi parliament predicted that the earlier decisions to ease restrictions by the health authorities could increase the number of daily new COVID-19 cases.

Lawmaker Ghaiyb al-Omairi said in a press release on Monday that the latest decisions of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety to reopen the airports, malls, and border crossings could raise the daily COVID-19 infections, Xinhua news agency reported.

Al-Omairi also expected that the committee “would reimpose some restrictions amid the rise in daily infections,” while calling on citizens to strictly abide by the preventive measures.

On July 16, the committee, headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, decided to reduce the hours of the partial curfew, except for the full curfew on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

It also decided to completely lift the curfew after the Eid al-Adha holiday, which is expected to end in the early days of August according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

The committee’s decisions also included reopening the airports for the flights starting from July 23 and two crossing border points with the neighbouring Iran and one with Kuwait for commercial exchange.

Al-Omairi’s comments came as the Health Ministry recorded 2,163 new COVID-19 cases during the day, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 94,693.

A statement by the ministry also reported 88 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 3,869.

It said that 2,308 people recovered during the day, raising the total recoveries to 62,836.

The new cases were recorded after 16,498 testing kits were used across the country during the day, and a total of 809,522 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, the statement added.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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 sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq.