KRG extends curfew another 5 days, now across entire Kurdistan Region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Wednesday that the curfew now imposed in Erbil and Sulamiani provinces that is part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus will be extended for an additional five days and will now be in effect across the entire Kurdistan Region.
“After the initial 48 hours on March 13, we extended the curfew for another 72 hours, today we decided to extend the curfew for another five days,” said KRG Interior Minister Reber Ahmed at a press conference in Sulaimani.
Ahmed explained that the decision will come into effect at midnight Wednesday night and would continue until March 23, adding that “if necessary, the curfew will be extended yet again,”
The minister also pointed out that the curfew will now be enforced in all four provinces in the region, including rural districts and sub-districts, to now include Duhok and Halabja for the first time. He then thanked the people of Kurdistan for abiding by the regulations and staying at home while stressing that the next 14 days will be crucial in containing the spread of the virus.
The decision was made, he added, after “consulting with Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, his deputy Qubad Talabani, and discussing it with all the governors in Kurdistan Region,” and that it was also based on “the Ministry of Health recommendation early Wednesday that the lock-down will be the best course of action and will have a positive impact on reducing the spread of the coronavirus.”
During the curfew, no one is allowed to drive except for police, and security forces, and others who have special permission. All public places, including mosques and other religious sites, are closed, and only certain markets and bakeries remain open. Residents are allowed to walk only in their own neighborhoods.
Drivers violating the curfew will face a 100,000 Iraqi dinar ($84) fine by police. For the second offense, they will have to pay 300,000 dinars ($251) and will have their vehicle confiscated for five days.
Early Wednesday morning, Erbil's Traffic Police Directorate announced that it had fined 50 drivers for using their vehicles and had seized 27 cars or trucks and 12 motorcycles on Tuesday.
The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health reports that, so far, there are 39 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kurdistan, including one dead and nine fully recovered.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared it a global pandemic last week, the coronavirus has so far infected over 216,000 worldwide and killed nearly 9,000 since first appearing in China in late 2019.
Editing by John J. Catherine