Iraqi authorities announced a modified coronavirus disease (COVID-19) curfew in place nationwide effective Monday, May 11. The new curfew will run from 17:00 to 05:00 (local time) instead of 18:00 to 06:00. Individuals are unable to leave their homes during these hours, while outside these hours, outings are permitted exclusively for essential goods and services.
In addition, a total lockdown will be in place during the Eid al-Fitr festivities, expected to start on Saturday, May 23, or Sunday, May 24, and will last for three days. The decision was made by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety under Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday, May 10, according to a statement published on the Prime Minister's Office website.
On Sunday, May 10, the crisis cell responsible for Kirkuk's province's response for the COVID-19 pandemic extended the ongoing lockdown on the province until further notice. Under the lockdown, entry into and exit out of the province remains prohibited, except for medical and media personnel. Pedestrian and vehicle movements are no longer in place, however. Instead an odd-even scheme will be implemented. Mosques, schools, and highways remain closed. The cell announced that movement is barred from 18:00 to 06:00, though it remains possible that it has re-adjusted the curfew hours in line with the aforementioned nationwide curfew.
Fines were previously announced for those who do not comply with lockdown measures nationwide. Drivers of public transportation vehicles carrying more than three passengers and/or where passengers do not wear face masks will be subject to a 50,000 dinar (USD 42) fine. Individuals who fail to wear face masks in public will be fined 10,000 dinars (USD 8). Finally, shop owners that allow more than one customer per every five square meters of space in stores are subject to a 100,000 dinar (USD 84) fine.
These announcements come as a step back from an easing of lockdown measures during Ramadan. Mosques, shopping malls, and parks will remain closed during the partial lifting of the lockdown. The ongoing nationwide curfew was initially implemented on Tuesday, March 17.
As of Monday, May 11, officials have reported 2767 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 109 associated deaths nationwide. Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed.
Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the outbreak as a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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