BAGHDAD, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The total number of COVID-19 infections in Iraq on Wednesday reached 303,059, as health ministry's officials warned that the upcoming two months will be crucial to the spread of the pandemic.
Abdul Ghani al-Saadi, head of the ministry's al-Risafa Health Department in eastern Baghdad, told the official al-Sabah newspaper that "the epidemiological situation is still unstable in Iraq and the danger lies within the next two months."
Al-Saadi highlighted the importance of "preparing for a new wave of the pandemic due to climate fluctuations that are likely to lead to an increase in infections."
For his part, the ministry's spokesman Sayf al-Badr said in a press release that most the COVID-19 death cases were those who were too late to be hospitalized.
"All the protocols for treating coronavirus are available in Iraq and the ministry is prepared for all possibilities and has increased the number of hospital beds to about 8,000," al-Badr said.
He said that the ministry is expecting another wave of infections in the upcoming winter.
The officials' comments came as the health ministry reported 4,357 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide infections to 303,059.
The ministry also confirmed 82 new deaths from the infectious disease, taking the death toll to 8,248. Meanwhile, 3,895 more patients recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 237,241.
Despite the continuing resurgence in the pandemic, the Iraqi Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has decided to ease the anti-coronavirus restrictions, by permitting people's movement among the country's provinces, reopening the border crossings, restaurants, tourist facilities of five-star hotels, and lifting the ban on sporting events.
China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 7 to April 26, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help contain the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and install an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.
Since March 7, China has also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq. Enditem