Iraq sees case surge in possible 5th COVID-19 wave

In this file photo taken on Aug 25, 2021, people wait to receive COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine doses at a make-shift vaccination center at a shopping mall in Iraq's capital Baghdad. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

BAGHDAD / ISLAMABAD / WELLINGTON – The Iraqi health ministry on Friday warned of the possible fifth wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country with daily cases exceeding 1,000, Iraqi News Agency reported.

"The daily positivity rate is increasing very quickly, as it was 6 percent two days ago and became 14 percent today. A week ago it was 3 percent," Riyadh Abdul-Amir, head of the ministry's Public Health Department, told the INA.

"The dangerous hike hints at the coming of the fifth wave that may be severe," Abdul-Amir said, attributing the increase in infections mainly to people's negligence in taking vaccines.

"The ministry has not yet recorded any case of serious complications from COVID-19 among the vaccinated people," he added, noting about 11 million people were vaccinated against COVID-19 across Iraq.

Iraq, with a population of over 40 million, reported 1,328 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, raising the nationwide caseload to 2,336,764. The daily case number was below 400 one week ago.

New Zealand

New Zealand reported 8,638 community cases of COVID-19 in two days, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Saturday.

Of the 8,638 community cases of COVID-19, 2,693 cases were from the largest city Auckland. Other cases were reported from across New Zealand

The ministry also reported 316 current hospitalizations and 24 deaths of COVID-19 for Saturday and Friday, which was the country's Matariki Maori New Year public holiday.

Of the 8,638 community cases of COVID-19, 2,693 cases were from the largest city Auckland. Other cases were reported from across the country.

In addition, 211 new cases of COVID-19 were detected at the New Zealand border for the past two days, according to the Ministry.

The country is currently under the orange settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, where there is no limit for gatherings.

READ MORE: Virus: New Australian campaign to encourage booster uptake


Pakistan reported 309 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health on Friday.

With the new infections, the overall number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to 1,533,047 in the country, showed data released by the ministry.

A total of 167 people were reported to have recovered from the pandemic over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,498,865, according to the ministry's statistics.

A total of 30,385 people died of COVID-19 in Pakistan, with one more death reported over the last 24 hours, said the ministry.

Pakistan's southern Sindh province is the worst hit region with 578,756 infections recorded, followed by the eastern Punjab province, which has reported 507,897 cases so far.