News Alerts

20 Jul 2020 | 12:37 PM UTC

Iraq: Authorities announce easing of nationwide curfew and re-opening of airports July 16 /update 42

Iraq News Alert

Authorities announce easing of nationwide curfew to 21:30-06:00 and the re-opening of airports on July 16 amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/20/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/1/2020, 11:00 PM (Asia/Baghdad). COUNTRY/REGION Iraq

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Event

The Iraqi government's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety announced on Thursday, July 16, that is will reduce curfew hours from a complete 24-hour lockdown to only be in effect from 21:30 to 06:00 (local time) amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Authorities will reportedly lift the curfew completely after the Eid Al-Adha national holiday, which runs from July 30 to August 3. The easing of the curfew could be reversed at any time and be reinstated with little or no warning. 

Separately on July 16, the government also announced that airports will re-open as of Thursday, July 23. Shopping centers and malls can also re-open, although strict social distancing measures must be adhered to. 

Furthermore, authorities announced on July 16 the re-opening of the trading routes of Munthiriya, Safwan, and Al-Shib. 

The announcement comes after officials announced that the nationwide flight suspension, implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19, had been extended until Wednesday, July 22. The ban includes both domestic and international flights, although medical evacuation and air freight operations are exempt from the ban. Commercial flights by Iraqi Airways between Beirut and Baghdad have also been exempted from the ban. The suspension may be extended beyond July 22 if warranted.

As of Monday, July 20, health authorities have confirmed 92,530 COVID-19 cases with 3781 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term. 

Context

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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

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 COVID-19 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 disease.

 

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