On Sunday, May 31, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced that a region-wide lockdown would be implemented until midnight on Saturday, June 6, following a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The lockdown is to go into effect from the evening of Monday, June 1. All pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be restricted, with exemptions for media and healthcare workers. All religious sites and places of worship are to close as part of the lockdown. The announcement comes following the KRG reporting 104 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the highest daily rise since the pandemic began. All border crossings and airports in the region are to remain closed until June 6. However, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) announced a further extension to the nationwide commercial flight ban on Saturday, May 30, with flights suspended until Sunday, June 7, at the earliest.
As of June 1, there have been 710 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Kurdistan region, with seven associated fatalities. Throughout Iraq, there have been 6439 reported COVID-19 cases, with 205 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in 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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