The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Thursday confirmed the first cases of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“I want to officially announce that the Delta variant has been registered in the Kurdish region. We have been investigating it for a while, there were suspicions, but now it’s confirmed,” KRG Health Minister Saman Barzinji told a press conference in the provincial capital Erbil.

Barzinji, however, didn’t specify the number of infections or the places where the cases were detected.

“The rate of coronavirus infections has increased dangerously in the region and that the epidemiological indicator has converted to the dark orange color and rising towards the red color,” he said.

The KRG health authorities said that daily COVID-19 cases have increased recently with more than 1,000 infections, up from less than 500 cases in recent months.

The region’s tally has reached 198,741 virus cases, including 4,553 fatalities.

Across Iraq, the nationwide tally hit 1,457,192 cases, including 17,677 deaths and 1,326,073 recoveries.

The World Health Organization said earlier this month that the Delta variant was detected in around 100 countries and regions.

Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.