Kurdistan fires security official with coronavirus for breaking quarantine after trip to Germany
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Saturday fired the security director of a major border crossing with Turkey for failing to follow anti-coronavirus quarantine measures upon returning from abroad after unknowingly having contracted the contagious disease.
It marks the first official in the Kurdistan Region to be removed from his post for violating the rules and regulations enacted by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“After conducting preliminary investigations, it showed that our officer Brigadier General Abdulwahab Mohammed Issa, the Security Director of Ibrahim Khalil International Border Crossing, had abandoned his quarantine location and failed to follow other regulations set by the KRG High Committee to Combat Coronavirus after arriving in Erbil International Airport (EIA) from Germany on March 14,” read the order issued by the Directorate-General of Asayish (Security) of the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
It stipulated that, as the first step of Issa's punishment, the committee had decided to fire him from his post.
Ibrahim Khalil is the main crossing point between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey and is located in the northern province of Duhok.
Five days after flying into Erbil, Issa tested positive for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, on Thursday, making him the first person known to be infected in the province of Duhok.
Related Article: Kurdistan confirms first case of COVID-19 in Duhok province
Issa's case outraged the population in the province after it was made public that he had violated regulations set to combat the coronavirus in the region that security forces have been enforcing on everyone else.
“We ensure our beloved citizens that no one is above the law and violators will receive their proper legal punishments,” the Asayish order concludes.
The KRG has so far confirmed 47 cases of the coronavirus in total, including one dead and 13 fully recovered.
The regional government has enacted multiple strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the region such as temporarily closing schools, declaring extended public holidays for government employees, and canceling all religious services and other public gatherings.
The government had also announced a curfew in the Kurdistan Region, first for 48 hours in the Erbil and Sulaimani provinces and then and then extended and expanded to the entire Kurdistan Region, including Duhok.
On Wednesday, at the request of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior decided to extend the curfew for five more days. According to the KRG’s health authorities, the curfews had been very effective to contain the outbreak of coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq on Thursday praised the measures enacted and the leadership role played by the KRG in facing the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus.
An official at the organization's office in Iraq, Adnan Nawar, told local media, “All the measures taken in the Kurdistan Region are correct and are in line with the instructions of the World Health Organization, and the International Health Regulations.”
Adnan added, “The citizens in the Kurdistan Region are more committed to the instructions, especially concerning the curfew, in comparison to the other Iraqi provinces.”
According to the most recent WHO figures, the total number of infections worldwide topped 300,000 on Saturday, with just under 13,000 dead.
Editing by John J. Catherine