Iraq approves AstraZeneca, Sinopharm vaccines amid fall in cases
Iraq’s Health Minister, Hassan Al-Tamimi, has announced that the UK-made Oxford AstraZeneca and Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccines against Covid-19 will be approved on an emergency basis on Wednesday by Iraq’s National Pharmaceutical Selection Authority.
Iraq has recently seen a sharp decrease in the daily number of new cases of coronavirus. The number of new cases fell from 4,510 on October 27 to 797 on January 18.
However, the Ministry of Health has warned that a new wave of coronavirus may hit the country soon.
A total of 12,962 people have died from the disease, according to official figures, with 609,852 cases recorded since the pandemic began.
On Sunday, Iraq’s Parliamentary Crisis Committee, which deals with the coronavirus pandemic, called on the government to close borders with neighbouring countries for 14 days in order to limit the spread of new strains of the virus.
Jawad Al-Musawi, a member of the committee, said, “The government’s measures to stop the entry of the new strain are very good and were taken early, but some borders are still open”.
Last week, Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority instructed Iraqi airline companies to stop any flights to countries where new strains of coronavirus have been found, including the UK, Brazil, the US, Austria, and Japan.
Entry to Iraq from these countries is also prohibited except for returning Iraqi nationals, who must quarantine for 14 days.
Last July, two leading Iraqi government advisors were subjected to ridicule on social media for prematurely claiming that a vaccine would be available in Iraq in September 2020, before any coronavirus vaccine had undergone sufficient trials for approval.