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Iraq's Kurdistan Region detects first case of Delta variant

Several Middle Eastern governments have instituted measures aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 variants recently.
Coronavirus vaccine given in Altun Kupri

The first case of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, according to local media. 

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Health Minister told reporters Thursday that the variant had been “confirmed” following earlier “suspicions” about cases. 

The World Health Organization considers the Delta as well as other variants of COVID-19 to be more easily transmissible, according to its latest data. Experts have not determined the Delta variant is any more dangerous than the original virus strain, however. 

The Kurdistan Region is currently registering more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day; the all-time daily high of 1,600 occurred in late October, per KRG virus data. Several virus mitigation measures are in place in the autonomous part of northern Iraq, including a ban on parties and a mask-wearing requirement in indoor public spaces. 

Several Middle Eastern states have instituted restrictions recently due to the coronavirus variants. In late June, Israel reimposed its indoor mask mandate. Around the same time, Turkey banned flights from several countries. In July, the United Arab Emirates also banned its citizens from traveling to countries with documented variant transmission. 

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