Delta variant alarming in Ninewa & Kirkuk

Kirkuk, June 22nd 2021- A health center in the city of Kirkuk. Photo by Kirkuk health media

By Wiroud Salih

With the spike in Covid-19 cases as Delta variant is widespread, the ministry of health warns of an eminent catastrophe as the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly spreading across Iraq.

Health directorates of Ninewa and Kirkuk have declared their hospitals of Covid-19 are full and have no more space for hospitalization of further cases.

“We are at the threshold of a health disaster as cases raise among children,” said Dr. Ruba Falah, member of medical media team of the ministry of health. “Half of the hospitalized cases are in critical situation.”

We are at the threshold of a health disaster as cases raise among children

The ministry of health has no special kits for detecting the new variant of Delta up to now yet it’s expecting it soon.

Iraq has registered 8,905 positive cases on Friday, total passed 1.5 million since February 2020 while only 1.2 million received the Covid-19 jab as Iraq joined the race last March.

Based on recommendations by the ministry of health, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of high committee for health & safety last Tuesday where he decided to impose compulsory masking in public places as Iraq faces third wave of Covid-19, Iraqi PM Media office said.

The Iraqi security forces ISF were tasked to impose recommendations of this meeting. From next week, only half of civil servants will attend office as part of new set of rules to curb the third wave of the pandemic.


Baghdad, July 21st 2021- Special hospital for treatment of Covid-19 cases. Ministry of health media 

“The current situation is not a positive sign because people do not trust vaccination and do not follow preventive procedures as they join crowds and overlook masking,” said Dr. Falah al-Tai, Ninewa health director.

“The last few days have witnesses remarkable surge in positive cases of the fatal Delta variant,” al-Tai added.

 Al-Shifa hospital is full and can’t receive any other cases

“Al-Shifa hospital is full and can’t receive any other cases as many cases were hospitalized in the last days of Eid Al-Adha, mainly women and children,” said Dr. Oudai Al-Abaddi, spokesperson for Ninewa Crisis Cell.

Ninewa has registered 329 cases in the last 24 hours.

In Kirkuk, the director of health called on Kirkukis via KirkukNow to vaccinate and follow preventive procedures as hospitals were full.

Kirkuk has registered 364 cases on Friday. “Covid-19 hospitals are full and can’t receive any further cases in the next days because there are no enough beds,” said Dr. Hamdi Nabil Boshnaq, Kirkuk health director.

Covid-19 hospitals are full and can’t receive any further cases

Boushnaq said they plan to turn some other health centers and hospitals into Covid-19 wards. “Our main weapon is vaccination as this is one of our last calls while we are heading to a disaster.”

Pfizer vaccine is available in 17 outlets and all other vaccines throughout 51 health outlets, he added. “The turnout for vaccination is low. Only 41,000 people out of over 1 million have received the vaccine.”

A 50-bed hospital to be opened soon to receive critical Covid-19 cases in the industrial section of Kirkuk, Bousnaq said. Another 25 bed to be prepared in Azadi General Hospital and 40 beds in Kirkuk general Hospital.

Iraq has eased restrictions of full curfew during the weekends and partial curfew at night in May as people protested the negative impact on their income.


Diyala, July 21st 2021- A vaccination outlet in Diayala. Media of Diyala health 

The directorate of health in Diyala has followed a set of new plans to curb the fatal third wave of the pandemic.

“We work to derive preventative plans to face the third wave of Covid-19 variants and enhance bed capacity as the hospitals are getting full,” said Faris al-Azzawi, Diayala health spokesperson.

Surge in cases was expected because people have skipped precautionary procedures

“Surge in cases was expected because people have skipped precautionary procedures”

Diayala has registered 352 cases on Friday July 23rd, “a big number for Diayala reflecting carelessness of people toward rules,” said Abdullah al-Shimmari, member of Diyala crisis cell.

Al-Shimmari believes that curfew has not proven effective and he proposed fines so that people follow partial or full lockdown and preventative rules.

The ministry of health has called on the public to wear masks in public places, social distancing, regular hand sanitizing and vaccination.

“The curve of the pandemic is upward as the third wave is tough and fierce,” said Dr. Falah.

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