Iraq's Covid-19 hospital units are full, says Ministry of Health

Oxygen suppliers cannot keep up with current daily rate of coronavirus infections

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As the number of coronavirus cases in Iraq continues to climb, patients may be turned away from hospitals, Iraq's Ministry of Health says.

“Currently, all the specialist Covid-19 units are full across all provinces in the country. If the number of cases continues to rise, we will be unable to receive any more patients,” spokesman Dr Saif Al Bader said in an interview with Iraq's state television channel on Saturday.

Acting minister of health Hani Al Iqabi said on Friday that oxygen supplies were low.

“Oxygen laboratories are incapable of meeting demand as cases continue to rise,” he said, urging people to be immunised against the virus and abide by safety precautions.

Dr Al Bader said Iraq's decades-long political and economic strife had contributed to the collapse of the country's healthcare system.

He also blamed misinformation spread on Iraqi television for encouraging people to shun the wearing of face masks and maintain a social distance.

“We are still suffering from the impact made by a few individuals, who are not medical specialists, spreading rumours and false information and we are pursuing legal action against them and the outlets that hosted them,” he said.

“Their negative impact on society has remained and we hold them morally and legal responsible for that.”

Iraq recorded 9,394 new coronavirus infections on Sunday and 77 deaths as health officials warned of a third wave of the pandemic hitting the country.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health also announced the arrival of 571,000 doses of the US-made Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“The vaccines will be distributed among health departments in Baghdad and other provinces,” Dr Al Bader said, according to state media.

Less than 2 per cent of the country's 40 million population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Updated: August 01, 2021, 3:39 PM