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Iraq reports highest 308 daily new COVID-19 cases

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The Iraqi Health Ministry on Saturday said that the daily increase of COVID-19 cases in the country jumped to 308, the highest record so far, bringing the total number of infections to 4,272.

The new cases included 274 in the capital Baghdad, seven in Sulaimaniyah, six each in Basra and Wasit, five in Muthanna, three each in Diyala and Karbala and one each in Erbil, Duhok, Najaf and Salahudin, the statement added.

Five more people died during the day in Baghdad’s hospitals, bringing the death toll in the country to 152, while 2,585 have recovered so far.

The new cases were recorded after 6,352 test kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 182,182 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi attributed the increase in the number of coronavirus cases to the significant increase in the number of test kits used by the health authorities across the country.

“Previously, the number of test kits did not exceed 200 every day and now, it has become over 6,000 test daily and can further increase,” al-Tamimi said in a press release on the state-run Iraqi News Agency.

He also confirmed that the partial curfew will continue after the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which will start on May 24 to May 31.

On May 18, al-Tamimi said at a press release that the health authorities decided to impose a curfew on six districts in Baghdad for two weeks to curb the latest increase in COVID-19 cases.

The curfew started on Wednesday in the districts of Sadr City, Habibiyah, Kamaliyah, Hurriyah, Shula and Ameriyah, al-Tamimi said.

Since the outbreak of the disease, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, including a nationwide curfew.

On May 10, the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, decided to partially lift the curfew, while full curfew will continue for Friday and Saturday in addition to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in late May.

Eid al-Fitr is the festival of breaking the fasting after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

On April 26, a Chinese team of medical experts left Iraq after a 50-day stay to support Iraq in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. China has also donated batches of medical supplies to Iraq to help combatting the coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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Iran’s energy minister visits Iraq on boost of cooperation

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Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian visited the neighboring country of Iraq on Wednesday seeking to discuss development of cooperation in energy sector, official IRNA news agency reported.

Ardakanian met new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad on Wednesday and urged for development of mutual ties in the field of electricity exchanges despite pressures of the United States.

During another meeting with his Iraqi counterpart earlier on the day, Ardakanian also discussed “synchronization of Iran-Iraq electricity network” and cooperation in the field of education in the electricity networking.

He is expected to meet the Iraqi President Barham Salih during his one-day trip to Baghdad.

Iraq is under the U.S. pressures to reduce its reliance on energy imports from Iran.

(XINHUA)

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Security forces launch major anti-IS offensive in Iraq

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The Iraqi security forces on Tuesday launched a major offensive to hunt down Islamic State (IS) militants in the provinces of Kirkuk and Salahudin, the Iraqi military said.

The troops, backed by Iraqi and international coalition aircraft, pushed in early morning in five routes to secure the desert and rugged areas between the two provinces, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces said in a statement.

So far, the troops have managed to kill two IS militants and destroy three of their hideouts and a number of tunnels, along with destroying a booby-trapped car and various weapons and ammunition, Rasoul said.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, paid a visit to the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command in Kirkuk, some 250 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and immediately held a meeting with the commanders to supervise the offensive, Rasoul added.

The offensive was designed to bring stability and security to the area, which has recently been a hot bed for IS militants, Rasoul said.

Recently, the extremist IS militants have intensified their attacks on the security forces, including Hashd Shaabi forces, and civilians in the formerly IS-controlled Sunni provinces, resulting in the killing and wounding of dozens.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.

However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.

(XINHUA)

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Iraq’s COVID-19 cases exceed 7,000 as daily increase hits new record

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Iraq’s Health Ministry on Tuesday said that the total number of COVID-19 cases jumped to 7,387 after setting a new record of daily increase with 519 infections.

The new cases included 350 in the capital Baghdad, 34 in Maysan, 31 in Karbala, 28 in Sulaimaniyah, 25 in Basra, 21 in Najaf, nine in Babil, eight in Muthanna, six in Duhok, five in Diyala, and one in each of Nineveh and Erbil, the ministry said in a statement.

It also said that 20 people died from the coronavirus during the day, in the highest single-day rise, bringing the death toll in the country to 235, while 3,508 patients have recovered.

The new cases were recorded after 13,463 test kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 251,714 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi reiterated his call on the citizens to cooperate with the health authorities through abiding by the measures of the full curfew to avoid catastrophic consequences.

“The ban of the people and vehicles movement as well as gatherings are not for security purposes, but rather to protect you and to prevent the spread of the disease, especially after the increase in the number of infections,” al-Tamimi said in a separate statement.

The Iraqi authorities imposed a week-long curfew from May 31 to June 6 after a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The committee ordered the security forces to tighten the health restrictions through preventing all forms of gatherings that could lead to the spread of the virus.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic, through enhancing Iraq’s capability of containing the spread of the contagious respiratory disease.

From March 7 to April 26, 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 an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

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

(XINHUA)

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Iraq reports highest 429 daily new COVID-19 cases, 6,868 in total

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The Iraqi health ministry on Monday reported 429 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day increase so far, taking the number of infections in the country to 6,868.

The new cases included 172 in the capital Baghdad, 102 in Sulaimaniyah, 41 in Wasit, 38 in Maysan, 22 in Basra, 13 in Muthanna, 11 in Karbala, eight in Diwaniyah, six in Najaf and Nineveh each, four in Babil and Diyala each and two in Duhok, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement also reported 10 more deaths, seven of them in Baghdad’s hospitals and one in Anbar, Maysan and Sulaimaniyah each, bringing the death toll in the country to 215.

Iraq has so far carried out 238,251 tests for COVID-19 since the outbreak of the disease, after 10,495 testing kits were used during the past 24 hours, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi said in a separate statement that the health situation is under control, and the ministry is exerting every effort to curb the virus.

“The percentage of beds occupied in the hospitals across the country is five percent of their full capacity,” Tamimi said, noting the health system has the ability to absorb more COVID-19 cases.

“The ministry started to increase the number of beds in various provinces,” he added.

The Iraqi authorities imposed a week-long curfew from May 31 to June 6 after a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The committee ordered the security forces to tighten the health restrictions through preventing all forms of gatherings that contribute to the spread of the virus.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic, through enhancing Iraq’s capability of containing the spread of the contagious disease.

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 sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq.

(XINHUA)

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Iraq confirms 260 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths

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Iraqi Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed 10 more deaths from COVID-19 and 260 new cases, as the total number of infections climbed to 6,439.

The new cases included 95 in the capital Baghdad, 31 in Maysan, 26 in Babil, 24 in each Sulaimaniyah and Basra, 21 in Muthanna, nine in Diwaniyah, seven in each Wasit, Najaf and Kirkuk, four in Duhok, two in each Diyala and Dhi Qar and one in Anbar, the ministry said in a statement.

Ten of the infected people died during the day, five of them in Baghdad’s hospitals and two in Maysan and one in each Kirkuk, Diyala and Sulaimaniyah, bringing the death toll in the country to 205, while 3,156 have recovered so far, the statement said.

The latest cases were recorded after 5,381 test kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 227,756 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Sayf al-Badr, the spokesman of the Health Ministry said in a statement that the current increase of the infections of the disease is within the capability and the capacity of the ministry.

“The latest increase of the coronavirus cases is a natural result for the increase of test capacity, as the number of laboratories has increased to more than 20 across the country,” al-Badr said.

The ministry’s strategy also includes searching for the infected people in their homes, as a large number of cases were detected in the neighborhoods, he said.

The latest COVID-19 infections came a day after the Iraqi authorities imposed a week-long curfew starting from May 31 to June 6 after a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The committee ordered the security forces to tighten the control of the implementation of the health restrictions through preventing all forms of gatherings that contribute to the spread of the virus.

Since the outbreak of the disease, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, including a nationwide curfew.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic, through enhancing Iraq’s capability of containing the spread of the contagious disease.

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.

(XINHUA)

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Iraq imposes week-long curfew to contain spread of coronavirus

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The Iraqi authorities Saturday imposed a week-long curfew to curb the latest increase in infections of coronavirus in the country, the Iraqi government said.

The decision was made after a meeting by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which took several measures, including imposing “full curfew in Baghdad and the Iraqi provinces for a week starting from May 31 to June 6,” al-Kadhimi’s media office said in a statement.

The committee ordered the security forces to tighten the control of the implementation of the health restrictions through preventing all forms of gatherings that contribute to the spread of the virus, the statement said.

The restrictions included preventing the people from moving without masks outside their homes, and ordering the traffic police to detain any vehicle that carries more than 50 percent of its capacity and that all occupants should wear masks, it added.

The committee also allowed food shops and bakeries to open their doors, provided that no more than five persons wearing masks allowed inside, otherwise to be closed, the statement said.

The latest restriction measure came as the Iraqi Health Ministry said in a statement that the total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 6,179 since the outbreak of the disease in the country.

Ten of the infected people died during the day, bringing the death toll in the country to 195, while 3,110 have recovered so far, the statement said.

It also said that 12 health workers were infected during the day.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic, through enhancing Iraq’s capability of containing the spread of the contagious disease.

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.

(XINHUA)

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Turkey kills at least 7 YPG, PKK members in Syria and Iraq: ministry

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Turkish security forces killed five members of the Syrian Kurdish People‘s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, and two members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Turkey‘s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Two PKK terrorists have been neutralized in Avasin region in an airstrike after they were determined by means of reconnaissance and surveillance. Our operations continue until the last terrorist is neutralized,” said the ministry in its Twitter account.

Turkish authorities often use the term “neutralize” in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

In a separate statement, the Defense Ministry also said that the Turkish commandos “neutralized” five members of the YPG in northern Syria as they were trying to “infiltrate into the region of Peace Spring aiming to destroy peace and security environment.”

Turkish security forces have long been conducting operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and in northern Iraq where the group has hideouts. These operations are intensified in the past few months. PKK members often use northern Iraq to launch cross-border attacks in Turkey.

Turkey sees the YPG group as the Syrian branch of the PKK. The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria in order to create a YPG-free zone along its border within the neighboring country.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

(XINHUA)

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2 Iraqi Kurds killed in Turkish airstrike in northern Iraq

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Two Iraqi Kurds from the same family were killed on Saturday in a Turkish airstrike in a border area inside the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, a local official said.

The Turkish aircraft in the morning bombarded a village in Deralok district in the northern part of Duhok Province and killed two family members and wounded another person in the village, Sami Oshana, head of the district’s administration, said in a statement.

Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes and artillery bombardments against the positions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the PKK.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

(XINHUA)

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UN Security Council extends mandates of missions in Somalia, Iraq, Darfur

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The Security Council on Friday adopted resolutions to renew the mandates of peacekeeping or political missions in Somalia, Iraq and Sudan‘s Darfur, and to extend sanctions against South Sudan.

Resolution 2520 authorizes African Union member states to maintain, till Feb. 28, 2021, the current level of 19,626 uniformed personnel, including a minimum of 1,040 police personnel, for the African Union Mission in Somalia, to support security preparations for elections due at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, and to conduct tasks in line with an updated Somali-led transition plan and the handover of security to Somali security forces.

Resolution 2521 decides to renew for a year, till May 31, 2021, an arms embargo on South Sudan, and a travel ban and asset freeze against individuals. The Security Council decides to carry out a midterm review of the measures no later than Dec. 15, 2020, and expresses its readiness to consider adjusting the measures to respond to the situation.

Resolution 2522 decides to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq till May 31, 2021.

Resolution 2523 decides that the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) shall maintain its current troop and police ceilings till June 3, 2020, and that during this period UNAMID shall maintain all team sites for mandate implementation.

The Security Council expresses its intention to decide by June 3, 2020, courses of action regarding the responsible drawdown and exit of UNAMID, and further expresses its intention to adopt a new resolution at the same time, establishing a follow-on presence to UNAMID.

(XINHUA)

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