Jordan restricts land, air travel with Iraq to block coronavirus

The Jordanian government said on Tuesday that it was closing its border with Iraq to everything but freight trucks, outlawing all passenger travel from the neighboring country except for those flying through international airports in Baghdad and Erbil.
author_image Hiwa Shilani

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Jordanian government said on Tuesday that it was closing its border with Iraq to everything but freight trucks, outlawing all passenger travel from the neighboring country except for those flying through international airports in Baghdad and Erbil.

“Within efforts to deal with the globally-spreading coronavirus, and to minimize the chances of the virus reaching and spreading in Jordan,” read a government statement, the national cabinet decided to restrict passengers moving “to and from Iraq across the Karam border point, while maintaining commercial traffic.”

There have so far been 69 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Iraq, 15 of them in the Kurdistan Region, and a total of seven deaths.  

“Except for official delegations, all passengers must go through Baghdad and Erbil airports only.”

Read More: Iraq, Kurdistan each report one new coronavirus case, totaling 67 countrywide

The statement also said that travel to Lebanon and Syria would be similarly affected.

It added that it would also restrict air travel “coming from the countries of France, Germany, and Spain to enter the Kingdom starting from Monday 16/3/2020, and not to allow Jordanians to travel to these countries.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international health emergency. COVID-19, as it is officially called, has spread to over 100 countries, including the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Russia, Singapore, India, and Iran.

According to the most recent WHO figures, there are over 118,00 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 100 countries, over 80,000 of which are in mainland China. So far, over 4,250 have died of the disease worldwide. 

Editing by John J. Catherine