Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iraq: Cautious Optimism About Govt Ability to Contain Coronavirus

Iraq: Cautious Optimism About Govt Ability to Contain Coronavirus

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 08:15
An Iraqi medical staff member checks a passenger's temperature, amid the new coronavirus outbreak, upon his arrival to Shalamcha Border Crossing between Iraq and Iran (Reuters)
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi

Iraqis are cautiously optimistic that authorities will be able to contain and overcome the coronavirus pandemic, given the relatively low number of infected people declared by the crisis cell throughout the country a month after the virus was first registered in Najaf Governorate.

Iraq witnessed a significant decrease in the number of casualties, and recorded no deaths, with the total number of infected people reaching 506, including 42 deaths and 131 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health's latest figures.

Currently, there are only 333 persons in hospitals infected with the virus.

The positive attitude was reinforced by the assessments issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on dealing with the epidemic in Iraq, along with reassuring official statements issued by the Health Ministry regarding the measures taken.

Health Minister Jaafar Allawi told the semi-official al-Iraqiya TV that the situation in the country is under control and the numbers are strictly monitored by WHO, noting that the financial allocations of the crisis cell are completely adequate.

Minister Allawi stressed that Iraq can overcome this crisis within a period not exceeding a month if it sees a full popular commitment to the lockdown.

He warned against a complete collapse in the event of noncommitment by some social segments, as that could lead to declaring a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, a video circulated on social media showing a citizen in Basra Governorate threatening health teams with a gun after they were called to transport his wife suspected of contracting the virus.

On Sunday, Supreme Judicial Council issued a statement in which it stated that the Basra Investigation Court confirmed the statements of the defendant who threatened the medical team and attempted to fire at them.

The Council said that the accused threatened to shoot at the medical unit if they returned to his house to follow up with his wife because she recovered and there was no justification for their visit.

The man was arrested after he escaped to a neighboring house.

Many welcomed the arrest of the man by the security forces, while others criticized the way he was arrested and videotaped.

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged citizens to abide by the directions of the competent authorities and observe religious and social ceremonies in the burial of the coronavirus victims.

OHCHR regretted the current situation in the country, given the health authorities inability to bury coronavirus victims, in Baghdad in particular, due to the failure of allocating an appropriate place for burial.

Relatives of the deceased refused to bury their dead ones indicating that the burial methods did not follow the religious ways.

Editor Picks