News Alerts

30 Jul 2020 | 02:19 AM UTC

Iraq: Passengers traveling from Erbil and Sulaimani airports to undergo COVID-19 tests prior to travel from August 1 /update 45

Iraq News Alert

Kurdistan Regional Government announce passengers traveling from Erbil and Sulaimani airports to undergo COVID-19 tests prior to travel from August 1; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/30/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/31/2020, 11:00 PM (Asia/Baghdad). COUNTRY/REGION Iraq

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The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Monday, July 27, that any passengers traveling from Erbil (EBL) and Sulaimani (ISU) international airports in the Kurdistan region must test negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be permitted to fly. Passengers must be tested for COVID-19 48 hours before their flight. Passengers will need to pay for their test, which cost 100,000 Iraqi dinars (84 USD). The airports of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah are expected to reopen on Saturday, August 1.

Iraqi authorities have announced a total nationwide lockdown until August 9, as a precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19 over the Eid Al-Adha holiday. The measure will not apply in areas administered by the KRG, which has already announced that a 72-hour total curfew will be in effect for the duration of the holiday, lasting from Friday, July 31, to Monday, August 3.

Despite the additional restrictions and increase in cases, airports elsewhere in Iraq reopened for limited international commercial flights on July 23, with flights resuming to Beirut and Cairo from Baghdad. Further airports are to reopen in the near future.

Restrictions that have been previously lifted may be reinstated should cases continue rising.

As of Thursday, July 30, health authorities have confirmed 118,300 COVID-19 cases with 4603 associated deaths in the country. Further 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). 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.


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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