COVID-19 Updates: Iraq announces Eid curfew amid 57 new cases, 10 in Kurdistan

On Tuesday, the Iraqi council of ministers imposed a countrywide curfew during Ramadan Eid holiday, as Iraq records 57 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, while Kurdistan Region records 10 in the same period.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, the Iraqi Council of Ministers imposed a countrywide curfew during the normally bustling and revelrous upcoming post-Ramadan Eid holiday after a sustained uptick in new coronavirus cases. The federal government recorded nearly 60 new infections in the past 24 hours while the Kurdistan Region recorded 10 in the same period.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment announced 57 new cases of coronavirus and 4 deaths, specifying that health workers had conducted 4,441 tests across the nation, excluding the autonomous Kurdistan Region which has its own health ministry and conducts tests separately.

According to Tuesday's daily testing results conducted by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which are typically announced later in the day than the federal government's figures and so added to the next day's national results, nine of the new cases occurred in Sulaimani province and one in Erbil.

On Monday, The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Interior announced that a complete lockdown would be enforced during Ramadan’s Eid al-Fitr celebrations to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.

Read More: Kurdistan Region announces complete lockdown during Eid al-Fitr celebrations

Eid-al-Fitr is expected to be observed on May 24, depending on the moon sightings that confirm the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan to religious officials. The Islamic lunar calendar depends on moon cycles that are either 29 or 30 days.

In recent years, Eid holidays have led to an influx of visitors to the Kurdistan Region from the rest of Iraq and neighboring Iran in the hundreds of thousands who come to enjoy its cities or scenic countryside. This has become a major part of the region's tourism economy, now already in the midst of a crisis as the result of budget disputes with the federal government and the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The government is determined to overcome the security, economic and health challenges," a statement from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office read following the new Iraqi cabinets meeting, explaining that it will make considerable effort to end corruption and unneeded bureaucracy while trying to avoid making the same mistakes as their predecessors. It also pointed out that ministers discussed a wide range of issues the new government is poised to tackle, notable among them unemployment and the national financial crisis resulting from the plummeting price of oil.

The number of confirmed infections in Iraq is now 3,611 in total, 131 of which have been fatal and 2,366 of which have been classified as recoveries.

The coronavirus has infected over 4.8 million people worldwide and killed more than 321,000, according to government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting.

Editing by John J. Catherine