By John Lee.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Monday a meeting in Baghdad of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.
At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Committee that the coronavirus pandemic challenge facing Iraq is unprecedented, and that this challenge has been exacerbated by cumulative past administrative failures.
Following discussions, the Committee decided to:
- Provide the necessary additional funding, through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements, to the Ministry of Health
- Direct state-owned profitable and self-financing enterprises to support the Ministry of Health, and for the extra funds to be used by the provincial health authorities for the direct purchase of medicine and medical supplies
- Permit the Ministry of Health to recruit additional medical staff, both on continuing and short term contracts, and to fund their salaries through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements
- Direct the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to grant medical and health professionals who have died as a result of their work combatting Covid-19 a pension equal to their last salary
- Allow a number of accredited private laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests based on the strict criteria set by the Ministry of Health
- Permit oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings, and to suspend payment by the Ministry of Health of the cost of oxygen supplies until its finances have recovered
- Amend the partial curfew to start from 7 PM to 6 AM in line with the increase in daylight hours
- Direct Baghdad Operations Command and the operations commands in the provinces to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and to hold them responsible for curfew violations
- Direct Baghdad Municipality and the Directorate Civil Defence to disinfect areas in Baghdad which have a high rate of Covid-19 cases
- Exclude staff of the Arab Company for Antibiotic Industries and Supplies (AKAI) from curfew restrictions
- The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with other countries which have announced that they are working on a potential treatments for Covid-19, and to negotiate with these countries to ensure that Iraq receives the necessary medicines and supplies
(Source: Govt of Iraq)