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Chinese aid, experience-sharing beneficial for Iraq in combating COVID-19: Iraqi official

(Xinhua)    13:50, May 27, 2020

BAGHDAD, May 27 (Xinhua) -- China's medical aid to and sharing anti-coronavirus experiences with Iraq and many other Middle East countries have played a beneficial role in helping these countries contain the COVID-19 epidemic, an Iraqi health official has said.

"The Chinese medical assistance to Iraq and other Middle East countries is a pure humanitarian initiative which was so effective in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic," Sinan Mahdi, director of the Iraqi Center for Communicable Disease Control, told Xinhua in an interview.

"We have been benefiting from sharing the experience with Chinese experts and we have made significant achievements in boosting Iraq's testing capacity and strengthening the ability to contain COIVD-19," Mahdi said.

When Iraqi health authorities detected the first COVID-19 case in February, the war-torn country was suffering from lack of national prevention and control mechanisms against the pandemic and insufficient ability to identify cases.

At the early and critical stages of the crisis, three batches of medical aid from China arrived in Iraq, in addition to a Chinese team of seven medical experts who have worked with their Iraqi counterparts to contain the spread of coronavirus.

In fact, the Chinese experts brought their country's front-line prevention and control experience against the deadly virus and instructed their Iraqi counterparts to strengthen diagnosis, case treatment, and infection prevention in hospitals.

They have built a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) lab, based on Chinese donation of nucleic acid test kits and other equipment, in the Medical City in downtown Baghdad and installed an advanced CT scanner at a quarantine center in al-Shifaa Hospital in eastern Baghdad.

Furthermore, China has also dispatched medical teams to the Middle East countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Algeria in the fight against COVID-19 and has been sending medical aid to other affected regional countries, which is urgently needed to contain the fast-growing epidemic.

"China has made a great humanitarian initiative and is making blessed efforts to serve humanity. China is assisting other affected countries because it is pursuing a responsible policy toward the international community," Mahdi said.

As for the latest increase of daily cases of COVID-19 in Iraq, Mahdi said "this happened due to the increase of test capacity as the result of the increase of the number of laboratories in the country."

On May 23, the Iraqi health ministry reported 308 more over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase so far.

She attributed the latest increase of confirmed cases to the fact that "many people are not abiding by prevention measures and curfew instructions."

Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi warned that such increases would prompt the health authorities to take further health preventive measures, which will include maintaining a partial curfew.

The Iraqi health ministry on Tuesday recorded 216 new cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 4,848.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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