BAGHDAD, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraq reported on Monday 12,180 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since the outbreak of the pandemic, raising the nationwide caseload to 1,564,828.
A statement by the health ministry also confirmed 60 more deaths, bringing the death toll from the virus to 18,347, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 9,966 to 1,420,995.
A total of 12,804,155 tests have been carried out in Iraq since the outbreak of the disease last year, with 50,880 done during the day, the statement said.
A total of 86,531 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across the country, bringing the total number of doses administered to 1,391,523, it said.
Ruba Falah, a member of the ministry's media office, said in a press release that the recent increase in infections "is clear evidence of the ferocity of this wave of coronavirus."
"Today we face a great challenge. We are facing the battle of our enemy, the virus, and our only weapon is to adhere to protective measures and take the vaccine," Falah said.
For his part, spokesman of the ministry Sayf al-Badr said in a statement that the recent increase in infections can be attributed to the failure to adhere to health-protective measures during the Eid al-Adha celebrations.
"This increase may also be due to the occasion of Eid al-Adha and the unprecedented crowdedness in public places, celebrations, tourist groups, and parties," al-Badr said.
However, despite the rising pressure on the health institutions, al-Badr said that the pandemic can still be contained by adhering to health-protective measures and taking vaccines, according to the statement.
On June 26, al-Badr said that Iraq entered the "third wave" of the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the new wave is more severe and dangerous than the previous waves.
Iraq has been pushing forward its vaccination drive since the drug authority approved in January the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine and other COVID-19 vaccines.