BAGHDAD, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Iraq Adham Ismail said that the continuous increase in numbers of COVID-19 infections in Iraq is raising concerns due to the social gatherings and the approaching of winter.
"The spread of the virus in the country at present is still under control and the government is making efforts to contain and control the pandemic," Ismail was quoted as saying by official al-Sabah newspaper on Saturday.
"The WHO warns of a possible increase in the number of infections during the coming period due to the continuation of gatherings, failure to follow protective measures and adherence to health instructions, especially with the approaching of the Arbaeen Shiite ritual and the winter season," Ismail noted.
He said that Iraq now is in the third stage of COVID-19 infections, which is the "communal spread."
Ismail warned that in the coming fourth stage, the country will be completely infected, which will require taking swift and intensive measures including complete lockdown, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,672 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total nationwide infections to 375,931.
The new cases included 1,505 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 333 in Dhi Qar, 264 in Basra, 263 in Duhok, and 258 in Wasit, while the other cases were detected in the other provinces, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also reported 49 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 9,347 in the country.
It also said that 3,861 more patients recovered in the day, bringing the total number of recoveries to 303,665.
A total of 2,330,386 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February, with 18,424 done on during the day, according to the statement.
On Friday, the ministry said in a statement on the occasion of the Arbaeen ritual as thousands of Shiite pilgrims are heading every day from many Iraqi cities to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, to commemorate the Arbaeen rite, in which the climax is expected to be on October 8.
Iraq has taken a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first coronavirus case appeared in the country.
China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem