Iraqi authorities announced the easing of restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from Tuesday, September 8. Authorities have allowed five-star hotels, restaurants, and tourist facilities to reopen. Additionally, sporting activities and events will be permitted with strict health guidelines implemented. The government will also allow crossing of borders for commercial movements to resume. Government institutions can increase the number of employees to 50 percent, up from the previous 25 percent limit.
Additionally, authorities have begun the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan. Normal working hours in government officers in Kurdistan have been permitted from Sunday, September 6, while the federal Iraq parliament will sit for the first time on Saturday since June.
A 22:00 to 05:00 (local time) nighttime curfew remains in place nationwide. Commercial passenger flights have been operational since July 23 and travelers are required to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their arrival in the country.
As of September 8, there have been 264,684 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iraq with 7589 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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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