Sun, 18 Apr 2021

BAGHDAD, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported 3,248 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total nationwide number to 695,489.

The new cases included 940 in the capital Baghdad, 662 in Basra, 393 in Najaf, 179 in Wasit, and 175 in Qadisiyah, the ministry said in a statement.

It also reported 23 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 13,406, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 2,933 to 635,931.

A total of 6,846,243 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020, with 35,525 done during the day.

The ministry said in a separate statement that Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi chaired a meeting with medical officials in the ministries of defense and interior, as well as the medical directorate of the Hashd Shaabi forces, to review the health restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.

The meeting stressed the need to strictly apply health restrictive measures by preventing gatherings and punishing violators, according to the statement.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to curb the recent rise in infections after the Ministry of Health announced on Feb. 15 the detection of a new strain of coronavirus 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.

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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