Mosques to reopen as Kurdistan Region reports no new COVID-19 cases
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs announced on Thursday that mosques in the region are to reopen on Monday, as the health authorities reported no new COVID-19 cases for the second day in row.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that 1,059 of COVID-19 tests conducted in the past 24 hours all came back negative. Out of the total, 359 tests had been carried out in Erbil, 383 in Sulaimani, 315 in Duhok, zero in Halabja, zero in Raparin, and none in Soran.
On Thursday, 11 COVID-19 patients recovered in Erbil province, increasing the numbers of the virus’s recoveries to 189 in the province.
Since the first recorded cases of coronavirus in the region, the KRG Health Ministry has conducted 49,863 COVID-19 tests across its four provinces, confirming 391 of the infectious disease and five deaths. According to the statement, there are only 25 active cases remaining in hospitals.
The decision to reopen mosques comes as the region began to ease its tight restrictions on a phased basis as the result of decreasing infections numbers. On Thursday, the KRG Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs issued a statement, announcing the reopening of mosques across the region in accordance with the health guidelines.
In early March, the KRG added the cancellation of weekly Friday prayers to its growing list of precautionary measures aimed at combating the recent spread of the coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region.
In late April, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq applauded the success of the KRG's efforts in combating the disease.
"I want to congratulate the Kurdistan Region on their achievement in fighting the coronavirus," he said, adding, "The rate of COVID-19 infections and fatalities in the region is very low compared to other Iraqi governorates."
The coronavirus has infected over 3.8 million people worldwide and killed more than 270,000, according to government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting.
Editing by John J. Catherine