Iraq’s health ministry reported 9,635 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the highest figure this month, days after a medical facility fire killed dozens and re-ignited anger over the country’s failing health system.
Nearly 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in Iraq since the start of the pandemic, including more than 17,000 deaths, overwhelming hospitals crippled by decades of conflict and corruption.
The newly spiking caseload comes two days after a flames ripped through a COVID quarantine facility in the southern city of Nasiriya on Monday, killing at least 60 people.
Exploding oxygen canisters sparked a fire that also injured dozens, according to the health ministry.
It was the second such fire in Iraq in three months.
An April fire at a Baghdad COVID hospital killed 82 people and was also blamed on an explosion of badly stored oxygen bottles.
Iraq’s hospitals have been worn down by decades of conflict, graft and poor investment, and face severe shortages of medicines and hospital beds.