COVID-19: KRG cancels 'Thursday holiday,' continues travel ban to Iraqi provinces outside Kurdistan
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region decided on Sunday to cancel its current abbreviated weekly schedule of official government working hours as part of evolving anti-coronavirus measures.
The so-called "Thursday holiday" has been in effect since the start of April, giving government employees the last day of the week off as one of a host of precautions designed to limit contact between members of the public to stem the tide of the highly contagious disease.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesperson Jutyar Adil made the announcement at a press conference following a meeting of the Supreme Committee to Combat Coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region, during which it was decided to reopen mosques for the holy month of Ramadan, albeit with new health restrictions.
The committee also decided to open public places for limited attendance, provided that all those present abide by health guidelines it said would be publicized shortly by the regional Minister of Interior. Funerals and other large gatherings are strictly prohibited.
The KRG announced on Wednesday that it would again enforce a partial four-day curfew as part of efforts to counter a recent increase in coronavirus infections.
The changes come just as the Kurdistan Region and Iraq have recently witnessed a recent significant escalation of new infections of the highly contagious disease.
"The Supreme Committee concluded, based on the reports of the Minister of Health and Education, it will obligate provinces and administrative departments to take measures against anyone not wearing a mask and to restrict religious events during the month of Ramadan."
Adil also pointed out that the government has again decided to suspend class hours at both government-run and private schools, reimplementing online classes for all but 12 graders, "according to the previous mechanism; a mix of distance learning and attending class for practical subjects."
"The committee also decided to continue to ban movement to the rest of Iraq's provinces"located outside the autonomous federal region.
"These decisions," he concluded, "will be implemented starting from tomorrow."
Editing by John J. Catherine