Iraq official says young people in ‘denial’ are dying of Covid-19

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Health ministry spokesman says young Iraqis with coronavirus symptoms are waiting too long to see a doctor

Younger Iraqis have been dying of the new coronavirus because they are in “denial” about being infected, an Iraqi health ministry spokesman has said.

Saif Badr said on Tuesday that at the beginning of the pandemic most deaths in Iraq were among the elderly with chronic diseases.

“The main reason for the deaths among the younger age groups has been denial and not seeing the doctor till later stages,” Mr Badr said.

The spokesman did not provide any data but said Iraq “is still in the coronavirus danger zone”.

Mr Badr singled out two main Shiite slums in Baghdad, Sadr City and Al Hurriya, for holding mass weddings, funerals and wakes, as well as clan-related celebrations, despite a strict curfew in the capital.

He said many of the cases the authorities recorded in Iraq were due to “touching” those infected or catching the coronavirus by living in a household where there has been a prior infection.

Iraqi officials have warned repeatedly over the last month that lack of compliance with health measures is widespread. Dismissing the threat, they said, would result in massive failure of efforts to contain the pandemic in Iraq.

The latest government data from this week puts the number of infections in the country at 14,268, with 392 deaths.

But the official data is widely regarded as under-representing the volume of infections and fatalities from the coronavirus in Iraq.

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