BAGHDAD, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi health authorities on Saturday announced new decisions against the spread of the coronavirus as the total nationwide infections have reached 315,597, state-run al-Iraqiya channel reported.
The first new decision is to stop receiving foreign visitors arriving for religious events in Iraq, including the major ritual of the upcoming Arbaeen, according to the Iraqi Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
The Committee also confirmed "the necessity to expedite the payment of the first amount of money to purchase 20 percent of the first guaranteed vaccine approved by the World Health Organization."
It also decided to reopen mosques and amusement parks on condition that health prevention measures are strictly followed and social distancing rules maintained.
The new decisions came as the Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,907 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 315,597.
The ministry also confirmed 83 new fatalities from the infectious disease, taking the death toll to 8,491, while 4,234 more patients recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 249,539.
The new cases included 1,264 in the capital Baghdad, 418 in Duhok, 408 in Basra, 284 in Wasit, and 249 in Dhi Qar, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry has carried out a total of 2,039,024 COVID-19 tests across the country since the outbreak, with 17,438 done in the past 24 hours.
Iraq has taken a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first coronavirus case appeared in the country.
However, despite the continuing resurgence in the pandemic, the Iraqi Higher Committee for Health and National Safety has decided to ease the restrictions by permitting movement among the provinces, reopening the border crossings, restaurants and 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