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Fear looms in Baghdad amid surge in coronavirus cases

Citizens’ failure to comply with restrictive measures causes surge in COVID-19 cases, official says

Mahmoud Mohamed Barakat   | 29.05.2020
Fear looms in Baghdad amid surge in coronavirus cases Health officials rest as they take samples from citizens to do a test for coronavirus (Covid-19) in Sadr City area of Baghdad, Iraq on May 21, 2020. ( Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency )

BAGHDAD 

The sudden surge of coronavirus cases in Iraq’s capital Baghdad has triggered fear among residents.

Over the past two days, Iraq reported 609 coronavirus cases, 481 of which were registered in Baghdad alone.

The unexpected jump also sparked fears among health workers and prompted authorities to take restrictive measures in the capital in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, Mohammed Jaber Al-Atta, the governor of Baghdad, announced a total curfew in the capital for 14 days.

Warnings and concerns

Wissam Al-Tamimi, an epidemiologist at the Rusafa Health Department in Baghdad, told Anadolu Agency the misbelief among citizens that the virus is under control led to non-compliance with social distancing in the past days.

He warned that situation may go out of control especially with infections among a number of doctors and health workers as the country lacks sufficient medical staff and equipment.

"Hospitals in Baghdad are full of coronavirus cases and the failure of citizens to comply with curfews alarms of a potential collapse of the health system," he added.

Failed quarantine

Hamdi Obad, a member of the health care department in Baghdad, told to Anadolu Agency that quarantine of areas could not curb the spread of the virus.

"We toured popular areas in Baghdad and noticed that the majority of citizens did not change their traditional lifestyle as if nothing had happened," Obad said.

"The actual risk in Baghdad will start when the health system collapses, and hospitals would excuse from receiving new coronavirus patients since there would be no room to treat the affected,"he added.

Iraq has recorded 5,457 coronavirus cases -- including 179 deaths and 2,971 recoveries.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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