KRG to impose region-wide lockdown amid spiking COVID-19 cases: Interior Ministry
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On late Sunday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Interior announced a complete lockdown for six days following a record-breaking infections rate in a single day to curb the further spread of the highly infectious disease, formally known as COVID-19.
The lockdown decision comes as the region witnessed a sudden spike in the numbers of coronavirus infections in a day. The KRG’s health ministry on Sunday announced 104 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily count since the virus first crossed into the region’s borders.
The lockdown decree by the interior ministry will go into effect from the evening of June 1 until June 6 midnight, according to the decree statement. It added that curfew will include pedestrian and vehicle traffic likewise within and between provinces and administrative units of the Kurdistan Region. Traffic of health care workers and members of the media will be allowed during the lockdown, according to the statement.
Earlier on Sunday, health authorities also announced another fatality due to the highly infectious disease. The deceased was a 75-year-old man from the district of Chamchamal in Sulaimani province, raising the total to seven COVID-19 deaths since the outbreak.
All the border-crossings and airports will remain closed throughout the region until June 6, the statement announced. On Saturday, Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority announced another extension of airports closures to commercial flights to June 7 in a bid to further curb the outbreak.
The decree also announced the closures of religious sites and places of worship across the region. The closure comes as the KRG in early May decided to reopen these places as numbers of infections were decreasing.
Legal actions will be taken against anyone who puts out statements against precautionary measures on social media and TV channels, the statement warned.
Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinjy said on Sunday that “due to the high number of newly infected people with the novel virus, COVID-19, we will be obliged to use hotels instead of hospitals as treatment centers.”
Recently, the number of daily recorded infections has increased in the Kurdistan Region. The authorities eased lockdown restrictions in late April, as the number of cases approached zero and the shutdown was taking its toll on the economy.
According to the health ministry's latest figures, there are 710 confirmed cases in the Kurdistan Region, including seven deaths, and 420 recoveries.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany