Chinese medical team in Iraq plans to enter Kurdistan region for epidemic fight

By Shan Jie Published: 2020/3/25 1:46:25

Photo: Courtesy of Ai Hexu

The Chinese medical team aiding Iraq on fighting COVID-19 pandemic is planning to visit Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, providing supports on the region's virus prevention work.

After the work at Baghdad, the seven-expert medical team will go to Kurdistan region, Ai Hexu, a member of the team, confirmed with the Global Times on Monday.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Consulate General of China in Erbil on Tuesday donated 1,008 test kits of COVID-19 to Kurdistan government to help the region for the anti-virus war. On the donation ceremony, Consul General Ni Ruchi said the Chinese government and Consulate General will keep supporting the Kurdistan region to overcome this difficulty.

The Consulate General of China in Erbil has been on its Facebook page posting about the COVID-19 situation in China and the work of Chinese medical team in Iraq. Each post has gained hundreds of comments, with people showing their appreciation.

For helping people in Kurdistan to fight against COVID-19, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General, Deputy Consul General Wang Xuhong donated 100,000 face masks to the Sulaymaniyah governorate, according to the Consulate General's post on March 12.

Chinese Consul General Ni is very active and works within the Kurdish community very effectively, Gullanar Hadi, a professor at the Salahaddin University-Erbil, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The rate [of COVID-19 cases] is increasing alarmingly these days.  The Kurdistan Regional Government has announced a curfew and we are cooperating with the Chinese consulate to eradicate this epidemic, she said.

"We thank the Chinese government for the assistance to the Iraqi people, and we hope to send more and be together to overcome this 'covidiot' crisis," she noted. China has developed close relations with the Kurdistan region. Companies are working together on fields such as oil and gas, electricity, agriculture, industry, communication and environment protection. More than 100 individuals including government officials and reporters have been sent to China for trainings and visits, according to the Chinese Consulate General in October 2019.

Sent by the Red Cross Society of China, seven Chinese health experts, including epidemiologist, nucleic-acid testing expert, critical-care specialist and other medical experts, arrived at Baghdad International Airport on March 7.

The medical team has been training and consulting on virus prevention and control. The team trains officials from Iraq's Medical City, Chinese embassy, Chinese companies in Iraq, local government and military forces. They are also making online courses, Ai, the Arabic interpreter dispatched by the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, told the Global Times.

Photo: Courtesy of Ai Hexu

By Monday, Iraq has reported 266 cases of COVID-19 infections, according to the WHO.

A new laboratory is expected to open on Wednesday, Ai said. The lab will have equipment donated by China, including two PCR machines and 50,000 nucleic acid test kits, which will help Iraq greatly improve its detection capability and control the local pandemic at an early stage, Tao Zhongquan, leader of the Chinese experts' team, told the Global Times in an earlier interview.

Iraq has been conducting curfew in the past week to control the spread of the virus "The shops were closed and police patrol every corner of the street," said AI.

With the promotion of the medical team and the Iraqi government's efforts, many religious individuals have been telling believers to pray at home.

Ai expressed sorrow Iraq was greatly damaged by war but was impressed by its people's friendliness. "I hope more countries could truly provide help to Iraq, helping many people here to build positive mind again."

Photo: Courtesy of Ai Hexu



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