KRG reports no new COVID-19 cases, affirms disease still a threat
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinjy on Monday announced that authorities had not recorded any new cases of the coronavirus disease over the past 24 hours but affirmed that the infection remains a threat to public health.
“During the past 24 hours, we conducted 1,792 laboratory tests, and all the results were negative,” Barzinjy told a news conference in Erbil. He explained that the examinations included samples from across the Kurdistan Region.
On Sunday, a total of 17,261 people had been tested for the virus in the Kurdistan Region, with the number of positive results at 330, according to data available on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) website. Monday’s numbers revealed by the minister rose the total to 19,053, while infections stayed the same at 330.
Barzinjy stated that the lack of infections does not mean the KRG has controlled the coronavirus outbreak or an end to strict new regulations to contain it. He stressed the need to continue to adhere to precautionary measures to limit the spread of the global pandemic.
Barzinjy said he does not support the lifting of a curfew that has been in place since mid-March. The restriction on movement is still across the region. “The orders must remain in effect,” he affirmed.
“We need more time to control the pandemic. We are still in the stage of danger,” Barzinjy said.
The regional Health Ministry has recently reported a decline in the number of new coronavirus infections after seeing a jump in the past weeks, a portion of which came from two funeral gatherings in the capital that resulted in the disease being transmitted to dozens of people.
At the same time, the number of people recovering in the region has increased to 167 from the 330 confirmed cases recorded in Sulaimani, Erbil, Duhok, and Halabja provinces, according to the ministry’s statistics. The authorities have also only reported four deaths from the disease.
In early March, the KRG ordered the closure of all religious services, as well as restaurants, coffee shops, and other entertainment or sports venues. This was followed by strict curfew measures two weeks later that the government has extended and expanded multiple times.
For the most part, the public at large has cooperated, but security forces have needed to enforce the new rules. Preventive measures also include ordering the closure of non-essential public facilities and private businesses, in addition to shutting down airports and border crossings.
In Sulaimani, however, the authorities have proposed to the KRG to ease restrictions in a step-by-step manner, allowing the reopening of businesses providing essential goods and services, decisions that, if approved, may be subject to change depending on the outcome. Erbil is considering similar steps.
The final say on the proposed measures to lift restrictions lies with the Health Ministry and the KRG, Sulaimani governor Haval Abubakir told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany