Only 1 of 5 Iraqis 'committed to wearing masks'
Health Ministry official reiterates importance of adhering to preventive measures against coronavirus
An Iraqi health official on Sunday urged the citizens to adhere to preventive health measures aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, saying that re-imposing a curfew is not suitable anymore. The country lifted the nationwide partial curfew late last month.
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In a statement, Riad al-Halfi said only 20% Iraqis were wearing masks, stressing the importance of social distancing amid fears of a second wave.
Authorities made wearing of masks and gloves in public and private transportation, markets and government institutions mandatory in May. A fine of 50,000 Iraqi dinars ($42) is set for those who violate the rules.
The Arab country has so far confirmed 400,124 cases, including 9,790 deaths and 332,330 recoveries.
While the entry of visitors into Iraq is banned, places of worship, public and amusement parks, and hotels and restaurants have resumed operations.
The holding of youth and sports activities, and events in other fields has also been allowed but without the presence of spectators.
Amid years of war and violence, and weak health infrastructure, Iraq is struggling to contain the virus. While there are shortages of drugs and oxygen, doctors are under huge pressure, with many moving out of the country due to violence practiced against them by patients' families.
*Bassel Barakat and News Desk in Ankara contributed to this report