Kurdistan PM urges public to follow KRG’s anti-coronavirus measures

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, on Monday, called on the people of the Kurdistan Region to...
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, on Monday, called on the people of the Kurdistan Region to take the threat of coronavirus seriously and to follow the measures that have been laid out by the government to contain the outbreak of the disease.

Wearing a traditional Kurdish outfit, Barzani appeared in a video message posted on his official Twitter account. He asked people of the autonomous Kurdistan Region to abide by the steps that the KRG has prescribed in order to prevent the spread of the new virus, officially known as COVID-19.

“My fellow Kurdistanis, I ask you all to take the threat of the coronavirus pandemic seriously to preserve your lives, the lives of your loved ones, and of all Kurdistanis,” he affirmed. “I strongly urge you to follow the advice from the health and interior ministries.”

Acknowledging the strenuous efforts of medics and civil servants, as well as that of the security and police forces, to contain the outbreak of the virus, Barzani called on people to help them in their mission, to stay at home, and to reduce their physical contacts.

“I hope that we together can combat this pandemic and stop its spread. It is through your support and cooperation that we will contain it,” the senior Kurdish official said.

According to the latest update from the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health, there are a total of 76 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region. They include one fatality, along with13 individuals who have recovered from the disease.

Iran has been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, and most of the cases in the Kurdistan Region have been in Sulaimani Province, which lies along the border with Iran.

The KRG has enacted multiple, strict, precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease. They include temporarily closing schools; declaring an extended public holiday for government employees; canceling all religious services and other public gatherings; and announcing curfew across the region.

According to local health authorities, the curfews had been very effective in containing the outbreak of coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the steps taken by the Kurdistan Region against the new disease.

Read More: WHO praises Kurdistan Region’s anti-coronavirus efforts

“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 Nawar, a representative at the WHO office in Iraq told local media last week.

"The citizens in the Kurdistan Region are more committed to the instructions, especially concerning the curfew, in comparison to the other Iraqi provinces,” he said.

Indeed, Saturday marked a Shi’a holiday, particularly important for Iraqis: the day of mourning for the eighth-century Shi’a imam: Musa al-Kazim, who was repeatedly imprisoned by the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad, where he is buried.

Although the Iraqi government had already ordered a nation-wide lockdown, starting March 17, thousands of Shi’a pilgrims converged on the shrine in Baghdad’s al-Kadhimiya district. Challenged by local journalists, the pilgrims asserted there was little danger from the virus and to the extent there might be, their faith would protect them.

Editing by Laurie Mylroie