Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Iraq reports 3,731 new COVID-19 cases and 68 fatalities

The Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,731 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, when tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims gather in their holy city of Karbala for the religious rite of Ashura.

The latest COVID-19 infections have raised the total nationwide number to 231,177, according to a ministry statement.

The statement also reported 68 fatalities during the day, raising the death toll to 6,959, while 3,860 more recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 172,880.

The new cases were recorded after 20,193 testing kits were used across the country during the day. A total of 1,587,326 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

The latest infection spurt came as tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims converged on Karbala city, some 110 km south of the capital Baghdad, to commemorate Ashura, a Shiite festival which marks the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

This year, the ritual of Ashura was accompanied by intensified health preventive measures to avoid further spread of coronavirus, official Iraqi News Agency reported.

Dozens of tents spread in and around Karbala to serve free food and drinks as well as masks and gloves for the pilgrims.

Iraq has been taking a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first COVID-19 case emerged in the country.