Reuters: Imam Hussain Holy Shrine houses patients instead of pilgrims in its pilgrim cities

Reuters - The holy city of Karbala, which regularly host pilgrims from all around the world, is now quarantining dozens of COVID-19 patients in pilgrim cities owned by Imam Hussain Holy Shrine.

The Holy Shrine has also built 10 urgent care center across the country and aims to build 10 more, to be put permanently at the disposal of the health ministry, adding 2,000 beds to the country’s total capacity, said Sayyed Afdhal al-Shami, a senior official at Imam Hussain Holy Shrine.

Iraq is increasingly relying on religious authorities to support its healthcare system as hospitals grapple with an influx of coronavirus patients and a shortage of supplies.

“When we see that the services available are not sufficient, we have to step in”, added al-Shami.

Iraq is seeing new infections rise by about 3000 a day, according to figures from the health ministry, with nearly 140,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths.