Iraqi lawmaker Ghida Kambash died on Friday after contracting the novel coronavirus, parliament announced, its first member to succumb to the virus as its spread ramps up across the country.

The 46-year-old was a three-time MP from Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, and helped pass laws on education reform and social welfare.

She leaves behind four children.

Last month, parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbussi said up to 20 deputies were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19.

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In total, Iraq’s health ministry has declared around 70,000 coronavirus cases, of whom nearly 3,000 have died and 40,000 recovered.

After seeing a relatively slow spread in the first five months of 2020, cases spiked 600 percent in June alone, according to the International Rescue Committee.

“The rate at which COVID-19 is spreading through Iraq is extremely alarming,” said Christine Petrie, IRC’s country director.

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Last Update: Friday, 10 July 2020 KSA 18:37 – GMT 15:37