BAGHDAD, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraq on Tuesday approved the emergency use of China's Sinopharm and British AstraZeneca vaccines to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Iraqi Ministry of Health said in a brief statement that the Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs (NBSD) approved the emergency use of the two vaccines.
Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi, who held a meeting in his office with the NBSD, said that the ministry has made all logistical preparations to receive the vaccines and has identified the groups that would take the vaccines, the ministry said in a separate statement.
Iraqi Ministry of Health spokesman Sayf al-Badr told Xinhua that the Chinese vaccine, developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), "conforms to the NBSD standards, and therefore the Iraqi state approved it for use inside Iraq."
Previously, the NBSD already approved the emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to combat the pandemic.
Also in the day, the Ministry of Health reported 823 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 609,852.
The ministry also reported nine new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,962, and 1,813 more recovered cases, bringing the total recoveries to 573,011.
China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 7 to April 26 in 2020, 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 the capital Baghdad.
China has also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq. Enditem