Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi announced Tuesday the start of a coronavirus vaccination campaign.

“The vaccines will be distributed fairly and safely, and will reach all citizens free of charge,” said al-Tamimi.

He said the campaign will initially target doctors, nurses and workers in the health sector.

Earlier Tuesday, al-Tamimi said his ministry received the first batch of 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine as a grant from China.

Parliament said Jan. 26 the Health Ministry will purchase 1.6 million doses from the US-German Pfizer company and 8 million from the UK’s AstraZeneca.

The Health Ministry registered 30 deaths from the virus Tuesday, 3,690 new infections and 3,517 recovered cases.

The new figures bring the number of infections to 703,778, including 13,458 deaths and 643,156 recoveries.

Authorities are still imposing restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, including closing schools, night curfews and the closure of public places.

*Ahmed Asmar in Ankara contributed to this report

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