The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority announced an extension to the existing commercial flight ban until Friday, May 22, as a measure to continue curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) domestically. Chartered flights and those repatriating Iraqi nationals, however, will continue to operate so long as the appropriate measures are taken.
Iraqi authorities announced on Tuesday, April 21, that lockdown measures will be eased during Ramadan, allowing the reopening of selected businesses. The new measures will allow residents in Baghdad to move freely between the hours of 06:00 and 19:00 (local time). However, a complete curfew will remain in effect during on Fridays and Saturdays. The relaxed curfew will last until the end of Ramadan on Friday, May 22. After Ramadan, previous lockdown measures will apply. 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 Saturday, April 25, there are 1708 confirmed COVIF-19 cases including 86 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected.
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) labelled 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 non-essential 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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