Reported COVID-19 cases across Iraq continue on the rise but at a slightly lower rate than in previous weeks, with a regular average of 3,400 daily reported cases during the past two weeks. The lower number of cases being reported dovetail with a decrease in the number of tests being conducted, with a current average of under 20,000 tests per day. The number of individuals who have contracted the virus as of 9 November stands at 501,733 cases, over 114,000 additional cases in comparison to the last update. Close to 30 per cent of these cases have been detected in Baghdad, followed by Basrah, Erbil and Wassit Governorates. Similarly, the number of deaths has increased to a total of 11,380. Meanwhile, the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have conducted over three million tests.
During the past weeks, the GoI and the KRG have continued to maintain a lax approach towards COVID-19 restriction measures, with no major actions announced since the easing of restrictions in September. On 7 November, however, the Iraqi Higher Committee for Health and National Safety announced the designation of Iraqi airports as the sole entry point of non-Iraqi nationals into Iraq. The same day, the Committee declared the authorization of payments to purchase the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), the KRG recently announced the suspension of in-person classes in all schools at all levels until December, without giving specific directions for universities. Meanwhile, the GoI agreed to designate 29 November 2020 as the start date for the new academic year in Iraq and to direct the Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research to present their planned health preventative measures for the start of the new academic year.