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Iraq breaks record for highest daily virus cases

Health authorities are asking Iraqis to take the COVID-19 vaccine as rates remain low and infections rise once again.
SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images

Iraq broke its record for daily COVID-19 cases yesterday.

There were 9,189 confirmed coronavirus infections on Thursday, including 1,812 in the capital Baghdad. Iraq’s other provinces registered cases in the hundreds, according to a release from the Ministry of Health. Thursday’s cases constituted an all-time high for the country, according to the ministry and some Iraqi media outlets.

Iraq has experienced virus waves before, and cases were also high in April. Iraq has a population of around 40 million.

A total of 1,001,180 Iraqis had been vaccinated as of Thursday, according to the ministry. The ministry did not specify whether this figure includes people who have had at least one dose or those are fully vaccinated with two doses. Figures from the Oxford University-based Our World in Data indicated that 1.74% of Iraqis had received at least one vaccine dose as of July 5, a much lower count.

Health authorities are pleading with Iraqis to adhere to virus mitigation guidelines, which include a partial curfew, and to take the vaccine.

“There is nothing in front of us to break the chain of transmission of the virus and to get it under control aside from the vaccine,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement Thursday.

The vaccine is available to anyone 18 and up.

The news demonstrates the vast differences among Middle Eastern states in the fight against the virus. The majority of Israel’s population is vaccinated and Turkey is rapidly approaching a similar level. In addition to Iraq, Iran, Egypt and war-torn Yemen and Syria have vaccination rates of less than 5%, according to Our World in Data.

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