WHO commends Supreme Health and Safety Committee action to reduce spike in COVID-19 cases [EN/AR]

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Baghdad, Iraq, 15 February 2021 – The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes a new set of resolutions announced by Iraq’s Supreme Health and Safety Committee on 13 February that aim to halt the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported by health institutions in the country.

The steady increase in the number of cases over the last 5 to 6 weeks is a concerning development that requires vigilance and strengthening of preventive measures at individual and community levels. WHO urges all Iraqi citizens to adhere to the measures announced by the Committee to protect themselves, their families and communities, including maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask when around other people, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds and gatherings, cleaning hands frequently, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.

“Amid increasing concerns over a recent noticeable spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Iraq, WHO would like to stress the importance of the new resolutions issued by the health and safety authorities on COVID-19 infection rates in the country,” said Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative in Iraq. “We second the voices of the Ministry of Health and the Supreme Committee and urge all citizens to be responsible by adhering to the individual and community preventive measures. Only through a social pact between the Iraqi people and health authorities, can we win the fight against this pandemic in Iraq,” Dr Zouiten added.

The new Supreme Committee resolutions included imposing an evening lockdown excluding those with medical needs, security forces, media professionals, service departments, and employees in grocery stores. They also included the reactivation of online education for all levels except for the final stages of medical colleges, in addition to the closure of parks and the banning of funeral councils and wedding parties for 2 weeks starting Thursday 18 February.

On 14 February, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported 2224 new confirmed cases with 15 fatalities bringing the overall nationwide pandemic figures to 643 852 confirmed cases and 13 179 associated deaths.

“We must unite efforts and join voices to support the Ministry of Health and national health providers at this critical stage of the pandemic. Let’s all commit to health resolutions and not compromise the safety and well-being of each other. It is the moral and ethical obligation of each individual to wear a mask when around other people, clean hands and maintain a physical distance to protect themselves and others against COVID-19 infection,” concluded Dr Zouiten.