Iraqi protesters had spent months fighting against government incompetence, poor public services and foreign interference before a new outbreak of the corona virus. Then the epidemic came and breathed new life into her complaints.
"The real virus is Iraqi politicians," said Fatima, an 18-year-old protester and medical student from Baghdad.
"We are immune to almost everything else."
At the protest sites in the capital and at the southern hotspots, the anti-government demonstrators mobilized since October have started to take public health into their own hands.
They distributed leaflets and lectures on coronavirus prevention, while volunteers distributed free medical masks, the price of which more than doubled in local markets.
Provisional clinics set up months ago to treat demonstrators hit by live fire and tear gas canisters are now dispensing gloves and disinfectants.
Volunteers in bio-hazard suits measure the temperature of protesters who are in organized queues.
"Even in normal times, our health care system has run down," said Fatima, a volunteer in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, the epicenter of the protests.
"Now we have a coronavirus outbreak and should we rely on these facilities?"
In medical centers, blood-stained washbasins in washrooms and poorly equipped facilities have become an everyday sight.
Hasan Khallati, a member of Parliament's health committee, told AFP that "hospitals and health care facilities are fully equipped for the outbreak of COVID-19".
However, the data available tells a different story.
Iraq has fewer than 10 doctors per 10,000 population, according to the World Health Organization.
Outbreak next door
Iraq reported last week about its first coronavirus case against an Iranian citizen who was studying at a religious seminary in the southern shrine city of Najaf.
The total number of infections diagnosed has since risen to 19 – everything goes back to the Islamic Republic, just across the border.
Iran has recorded 54 deaths among 978 cases, the largest number of fatalities outside of China, the epicenter of the epidemic.
This has triggered public panic in Iraq, one of Iran's largest export markets and a popular destination for Iranian pilgrims visiting Najaf and Karbala, another holy city.
Many Iraqis also cross the border for business, tourism, medical care, and religious studies.
In response to the outbreak, the Iraqi authorities closed land borders with Iran and prohibited foreigners from the Islamic Republic and other badly affected countries from entering the country.
Anti-Iranian sentiment is rising in the protest camps after rising in recent months among protesters accusing Iran of interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.
There are also allegations that Iranian officials are covering up the severity of the outbreak within their borders.
Iraqi officials are doing the same, protesters say.
"We believe there are cases that the government has not yet explained," said medical student Russol in a protest camp in the southern city of Diwaniya.
"You have to be transparent to people," she said.
"Snipers Didn't Scare Us Off"
With schools, universities, cinemas, cafes, and other public places closed until March 7, protest participation was expected to decline, especially after the government announced plans to limit large virus virus gatherings.
Populist minister Moqtada Sadr, who was seen as the motor of the protest movement before withdrawing his support in late January, told his loyalists that they were prohibited from demonstrating because of the epidemic.
But students, who make up most of the anti-government movement, have used suspended classes to get back on the streets.
On Sunday, they flocked to protest camps in Baghdad and Diwaniya to press for a government overhaul two months after the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi under pressure from the population.
Unimpressed, they said they were exposed to far more lethal threats than the novel corona virus, which has not yet resulted in death in Iraq.
"Your snipers haven't stopped us, what can corona virus do?" Demonstrators sang.
Security forces have used tear gas, rubber bullets, lightning strikes, live rounds, and even machine gun fire to dispel protests.
Around 550 people have been killed and 30,000 more injured since October 1, mostly demonstrators.
Last week alone, four demonstrators were shot in protest camps and an activist was murdered in his home.
"Political parties and corruption are an epidemic that is much more dangerous than the corona virus," said Mohammad, a university student in Diwaniya.
"This is the outbreak we want to get rid of because it destroyed Iraq."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)