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Iraq: Health crisis worsens as virus deaths top 2,000

July 1, 2020 at 11:00 pm

Health workers keep on duty under harsh conditions without salaries during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, demand to be paid for their salaries at a pandemic hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on 1 June 2020. [Fariq Faraj Mahmood – Anadolu Agency]

More than 100 additional coronavirus fatalities pushed Iraq’s virus-linked death toll to over 2,000 on Wednesday amid a shortage of medical supplies, Anadolu reports.

According to the Health Ministry, 107 patients died in the country over the past 24 hours, raising the overall count to 2,050.

Cases also shot up by 2,415 to reach 51,524, while the number of recoveries rose to 26,267, the ministry said.

Infections continue to soar in the Middle Eastern country despite the government reimposing a nationwide curfew in May, which remains in force.

The rising numbers have sparked fears that the healthcare system could possibly collapse if the situation does not improve soon.

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A virus task force meeting on Tuesday announced new measures to control the pandemic, including more funding to health departments across the country, allowing accredited private laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests, and permitting oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings.

A partial curfew will now start from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time. Provincial law enforcement have been ordered to implement the restrictions.

The Baghdad Municipality and Civil Defense Directorate have also been directed to disinfect areas in the capital which have high rates of infections.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said the challenge is “unprecedented” and exacerbated by “cumulative past administrative failures.”