Iraq reports 645 new COVID-19 cases, 608,232 in total

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BAGHDAD, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Sunday 645 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 608,232.

The ministry also reported nine new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,944, and 1,531 more recovered cases, bringing the total recoveries to 569,429.

A total of 5,119,479 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February, with 36,483 done during the day, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi told the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) that the pandemic is under control in Iraq as the recovery rate has reached 93 percent and the death rate about 2 percent.

Al-Tamimi also denied the reports by some local media about the discovery of the new strain of coronavirus in Iraq, saying "the new strain is characterized by its rapid spread, so if the new strain exists, we would have recorded double numbers of infections," the INA said.

He stressed that some irresponsible local reports aimed at distorting the epidemiological situation in the country and creating panic among people, it added.

"Life in Iraq has returned, and we call on citizens to adhere to health instructions," al-Tamimi said, warning that the Ministry of Health will take all legal measures against those who claim incorrect information about the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, according to INA.

Iraq has taken a series of measures to contain the pandemic since the first coronavirus case appeared in the country.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

From March 7 to April 26 in 2020, 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 install an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

China has also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq. Enditem

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