BAGHDAD, March 25 (Xinhua) -- A new PCR laboratory built by the Chinese team of experts was inaugurated on Wednesday in Iraq's capital Baghdad, as part of China's support for Iraq in containing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
"COVID-19 pandemic is a common enemy of all mankind, and China attaches great importance to international cooperation to combat it," said Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao in an opening ceremony at the Medical City complex in downtown Baghdad.
"On this basis, we have sent a specialized medical team of seven members, as well as a huge amount of medical aid to Iraq," he said.
The newly established PCR lab will dramatically enhance Iraq's ability to test COVID-19 to further contain the epidemic, Zhang noted.
For his part, Iraqi Health Minister Jaafar Sadiq Allawi hailed the Chinese-built laboratory "very important."
"As you know we were lacking these experiences. We are in a difficult time trying to pass it," he said.
"The Chinese assistance will remain in history. Coronavirus will end, but the training of our cadres and our youths is actually for the future of Iraq," Allawi noted.
With the new laboratory, Iraq will be able to do as many as 1,000 tests for coronavirus per day, a significant increase from the current 200 or so, according to the Iraqi authorities.
The Iraqi Health Ministry has so far confirmed 316 cases of COVID-19 in the country, 27 of whom have died and 75 others recovered.
To help Iraq cope with the spread of the novel coronavirus, a Chinese team of seven experts arrived in Baghdad on March 7 and is expected to stay in the country for one month.
They are working with their Iraqi counterparts in the fight against the viral respiratory disease, which has largely been under control in China through a nationwide campaign since late January.