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Iraq records 416 new COVID-19 cases – highest single day rise to date

Iraqi health officials on Friday recorded 416 new COVID-19 cases, marking the highest single-day rise since the coronavirus first emerged in the country, raising fears of a second spike.

Six people also died on Friday after contracting the virus, according to an official statement from the health ministry.

Baghdad saw the biggest share of new cases, with 265 confirmed. Thirty-one cases were recorded in Dhi Qar and 28 cases in Karbala. Sulaimani province recorded 22.

Five deaths were recorded in Baghdad and one in Basra.

The health ministry statement also confirmed 73 recoveries – 61 of them in Baghdad.

The dramatic rise in cases follows government moves to ease containment measures, which saw free movement curtailed and businesses shuttered for weeks, damaging an already frail economy.

Iraq’s lockdown measures, first introduced in March, were eased on May 10, allowing many businesses to reopen in daylight hours. A nighttime curfew remained in place.

Last Friday however, as Muslims prepared to celebrate a more muted Eid al-Fitr at home, the government imposed a complete one week lockdown, which ended on Thursday.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also eased containment measures following a three-day complete lockdown over Eid al-Fitr.

The KRG’s interior ministry eased lockdown on Wednesday. However, authorities have continuously urged the public to adhere to health regulations and take the pandemic seriously.

“I am once again calling on my citizen sisters and brothers to adhere to the health regulations and maintain their health and those of their relatives. Your safety matters the most to us,” KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in an official statement on Friday morning.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have recorded 5,873 COVID-19 cases in total. Of these, 185 people have died after contracting the virus and 3,044 have recovered. Source