Kurdistan Region steps up measures to prevent spread of coronavirus

The decision to deny citizens from China or foreigners who had traveled there after Jan. 14 “is strictly to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region.”
author_image Hiwa Shilani

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus, officials at Erbil International Airport (EIA) will not allow people coming from China to enter the Kurdistan Region, including foreigners if they have traveled to the country after Jan. 14, 2020.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rizgar Afandi, Director of Passport at EIA, told Kurdistan 24 the decision to deny citizens from China or foreigners who had traveled there after Jan. 14 “is strictly to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region.”

Afandi added that teams from the health ministry would thoroughly check and examine Kurds returning from China before they are allowed back in the region. The decision includes travelers trying to get in from the border crossing checkpoints in both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. 

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Health affirmed in a statement that there have been no cases of the coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region. It noted that three travelers from China were sent back upon arrival at the Erbil airport.

Moreover, in a separate statement, the KRG’s Ministry of Interior advised citizens from the Kurdistan Region to avoid or postpone travel to China until further notice. 

According to the Chinese National Health Commission, 259 people have died from the coronavirus, while over 12,000 cases have been recorded worldwide. The virus has been documented in 27 countries.

Last week, the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment announced that the country is, so far, free from any known cases of infection.

Although cases have been reported throughout Asia, and a few in North America and Europe, all fatalities have occurred in China—where the problem, itself, originated.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany