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Situation update 

Keep watching this page for updates on the current situation in the Kurdistan Region. For information on what the coronavirus is and how to protect yourself against it, see Coronavirus: What you should know.

 

Situation summary 

The global spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a rapidly evolving situation. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) measures for continuous observation are in place, and dedicated facilities have been set up to handle and contain any cases should they arise, please contact the Ministry of Health’s hotline number when you see the symptoms in any person. Only the Ministry of Health or the World Health Organization is qualified to confirm any case of COVID-19.

 

Cases in the Kurdistan Region

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring for any cases of COVID-19.

(Updated 28 March 2020)

COVID-19: Kurdistan Region at a Glance*

Total confirmed cases: 122

Total recovered: 53

Total deaths: 2

Total active cases: 67

* Data include confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) since 1 March 2020.

COVID–19: Potential cases tested in the Kurdistan Region*

Potential cases tested

Total potential cases tested

4768

Test Results

Positive cases

122

Negative cases

4646

Under testing cases

0

Total confirmed cases

122

* This table shows the number of potential cases tested and the number of cases confirmed in the Kurdistan Region, via the Ministry of Health surveillance systems.

 

What the KRG is doing

To keep the Kurdistan Region as safe as possible from the coronavirus, the following measures have been put in place by the KRG and relevant ministries.

Imposition of total curfew across the Kurdistan Region
  • Extension of total curfew across the Kurdistan Region staring at 12:00 midnight 23 March until 1 April. Drivers in violation would be penalized according to the previous regulations.
  • The curfew, first imposed at 12:00 midnight on 13 March until 12:00 midnight 15 March, then extended until 12:00 midnight 18 March inside the cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, and extended across the Kurdistan Region until 12:00 midnight 23 March.
  • No traffic movement is allowed between the hours of 12:00 midnight to 06:00 a.m. except for security forces, ambulances, and permitted vehicles.
  • Pedestrian traffic is prohibited except for running daily errands and cases of illness. Violators would be prosecuted under the law.
  • A mayoral committee will be formed with the participation of police and security forces to issue special permits in emergency cases.
  • Permission for oil companies is done through coordination with the Ministry of Natural Resources. All special permits must be done through relevant authorities such as the Interior Ministry and the Diwan of the Council of Ministers.
  • All traffic movement between cities and towns is banned. The only exception is emergency cases and with the permission of provincial Operation Rooms.
  • If they neglect or fail to enforce the above rules members of security forces will face a prison term of up to 10 days according to Articles 47 and 48 of Security Forces penal code of 2008.
  • Members of any committee who may issue a non-emergency permit will be prosecuted according to the above Articles if they are of the security forces. Members of the civil service will be warned and removed from their posts.
  • No government employee, officer or civil servant who work in other parts of Iraq is allowed to return to the Kurdistan Region until 1 April 2020, even if they are residents of the Kurdistan Region.
  • Provincial and district energy and electricity officials will become members of the Operation Rooms to coordinate the supply of electricity, staff movement and delivery of fuel to power stations.
  • People must stay in their homes to allow medical teams to carry out their mission. Upon any suspicion, you are advised to call 122 and suspected cases must stay put until medical teams reach you.
Anyone has come in contact with an infected person must be quarantined
  • Anyone who has come in contact with an infected person must be quarantined for the duration of the time specified by the Ministry of Health.
Coordinating the Kurdistan Region’s cultivation season
  • Provincial and district agricultural officials will become members of the Operation Rooms with the sole purpose of coordinating the Region’s cultivation season.
Coordinating the places with permission to serve people
  • All markets, bakeries, and places with permission to serve people will be closed from 11:00 p.m. to 06:00 a.m. except pharmacies. Governors and district heads must reorganize working hours of market bakeries in accordance with the traffic ban.
Imposition of traffic ban between all towns and districts in both Erbil and Sulaymaniyah
  • Imposition of traffic ban between all towns and districts in both Erbil and Sulaymaniyah provinces for 72 hours, effective at (12:00) Sunday midnight, 15 March 2020.
Setting deadline for all Kurdistan Region residents to return from Iran
  • The final deadline for people’s return to the Kurdistan Region is 12:00 midnight of Monday, 16 March 2020, beyond which all crossing points will be closed to travelers except for trade at the following designated border crossings: Parwezkhan, Haji Omran, Ibrahim Khalil, and Bashmakh.
Anyone returned illegally to the Kurdistan Region from Iran must immediately report to the medical teams
  • People who have returned illegally to the Kurdistan Region from Iran must immediately report to our medical teams. Failing to do so will lead to mandatory quarantine and prosecution under the law for the intentional spread of the virus and illegal border crossing.
The joint health and security task force is on full alert
  • The response Operation Rooms in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, as well as all medical teams and security personnel, must start enforcing the Kurdistan Regional Government's new regulations on coronavirus.
Returning to the Kurdistan Region
  • No one is allowed to return to the Kurdistan Region from abroad without the permission of the Interior Minister. Those returning will be quarantined at the port of entry.
  • Iraqi and foreign citizens that have traveled to the following countries in the past 30 days will undergo tests and quarantined for a duration determined by the Health Ministry.

Albania

Austria

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Bulgaria

Czech Republic 

Croatia

Cyprus

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungry

Ireland

Lithuania

Luxemburg

Malta

Montenegro

Netherlands

Norway

Portugal

Romania

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

United Kingdom (including Scotland) 

Poland

  • Foreign diplomats and official delegations are exempt from above regulation given that they provide Medical Clearance against the Coronavirus.
  • KRG advises all people from the Kurdistan Region who reside in Europe to not return to the Kurdistan Region for the Newroz holidays as all celebrations and events have been suspended.
KRG bans non-emergency travel between provinces
  • The KRG decided to ban non-emergency travel between provinces from the 14 March to the 28 March in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
  • Medical teams, diplomats, NGOs, UN-affiliated agencies, security forces, and businessmen are exempt from the movement ban.
  • Emergency travel by non-exempt groups and individuals requires the approval of the Operations Room for each province and other independent units.
KRG suspends transportation by public transport lines between provinces
  • The KRG decided to suspend transportation by public transport lines (bus and minibus) between provinces from the 13 March to the 1 April.
KRG bans travel between the Kurdistan Region and federal Iraqi provinces
  • The KRG decided to ban travel between the Kurdistan Region and federal Iraqi provinces from 14 March to 28 March in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
  • Emergency travel requires the approval of the Operations Room for each province and other independent units.
The limitation of movement and trade imports in crossing borders
  • The KRG ordered the limitation of movement and trade imports in Bashmakh, Parwezkhan, and Ibrahim Khalil border crossings.
  • Border trade will be reorganized so that no touching takes place between people and the drivers and the general director of customs has given authority to implement these reorganizations.
Tourist resorts are to be closed
  • The KRG ordered the general board of tourism to close all tourist resorts in order to prevent any gathering by the Kurdistan Region citizens in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
All sports events are canceled
  • The KRG decided to cancel all sports events until 1 April, except the Iraq FA Cup which will take place without spectators.
Flights ban from the Kurdistan Region’s airports
  • The KRG decided to ban flights from the Kurdistan Region’s airports to Baghdad and Basra from the 14 March to the 28 March, exempting diplomats, official delegations, and UN and coalition delegations.
  • Syria’s Ajnaha al-Sham airline flights is suspended to and from the Kurdistan Region’s airports.
Keeping citizens informed
  • The KRG will ensure that citizens are given accurate and up-to-date information on a daily basis – via the relevant government bodies and with assistance from the media.
Medical screening at all points of entry
  • All international travelers entering the Kurdistan Region by land or air are screened by medical teams.
  • Anyone who does not pass this medical check will not be allowed to enter the Kurdistan Region and will be quarantined for public safety.
  • Preventing entrance for travelers who have visited China from the 14 January 2020 onwards.
  • Preventing entrance for travelers who have visited Iran from 5 February 2020 onwards.
  • All Iraqi citizens coming back from Iran are checked and quarantined.
  • Preventing Iraqi citizens from visiting Iran for an unidentified period.
  • Flight halted to Iran from Erbil International Airport and Sulaymaniyah International Airport for an unidentified period.
  • Visa issuance has been stopped for the passport holders of the following countries, and KRI citizens are prevented from visiting them:
    • China
    • Iran
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
    • Singapore
    • Kuwait
    • Bahrain

    Iraqi citizens who have visited the abovementioned countries after 1 January 2020 will be checked and quarantined, and all foreign travelers who have visited those countries after 1 January 2020 will not be allowed to enter the Kurdistan Region.

    Iraqi citizens coming from the cities in the south of Iraq will be checked in the checkpoints.

    Foreigners who have the Kurdistan Region residency will be allowed to enter the Kurdistan region if they have not visited the abovementioned countries after 1 January 2020.

Government's office working hours
  • There will be a public holiday across all ministries, departments and the Kurdistan Region institutions, other than Peshmerga forces, Asayesh (security forces), interior Asayesh and health institutions from Thursday, 12 March to Thursday, 26 March.
  • Reducing the working hours of all the government's offices to 8:00 am to 1:00 pm from 1 March to 10 March.
  • Stopping the fingerprint attendance systems in all the government's offices from 1 March to 10 March.
  • All government entities are free to reduce the attendance of their staff of the offices upon requirement from 1 March to 10 March.
  • All citizens are advised not to visit government offices unless of urgent cases from 1 March to 10 March.
  • Suspends the work of (Traffic Police and Passport departments) for citizens until 14 March.
Dedicated facilities
  • Several dedicated medical facilities have been set up in each province of the Kurdistan Region, to be able to identify and contain any cases of COVID-19, and to provide the necessary care.
Closing schools and universities
  • The KRG has declared the period from 26 February to 10 March a public holiday for all public schools, private schools, and kindergartens.
  • Public and private universities will be closed from 29 February to 10 March.
  • All schools and universities will remain closed during the spring break (10–23 March) before reopening on 24 March.
  • The Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research will prepare a schedule to enable students to catch up with their studies.
Providing funds to local governorates
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economy is providing financial support as required to governorates and local administrations, working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior. 
Maintaining supplies of basic goods
  • The KRG will ensure that shops in the Kurdistan Region will continue to stock basic goods.
  • The government will also prevent price manipulation of essential goods and commodities, and take action against anyone who attempts to benefit illegally from the situation.
Halt all religious ceremonies, rituals, and activities
  • The KRG decided to halt all religious ceremonies, rituals, and activities - including Friday sermons - in mosques, churches, and temples throughout the Kurdistan Region until further notice.
Taking precautions in refugee and IDP camps
  • Taking precautions in refugee and IDP camps through local authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, while coordinating their activities with the relevant international organizations.
Decrease tax and rent rates on business centers and shops
  • The government will decrease tax and rent rates on business centers and shops that have been affected by measures taken to combat the coronavirus.