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22 May 2020 | 04:24 PM UTC

Iraq: Authorities extend suspension of air traffic until May 31 /update 30

Iraqi authorities extend suspension of commercial air traffic to May 31; confirm travel itineraries



On Thursday, May 21, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) extended the suspension of flights to and from Iraq until 20:00 (local time) on Sunday, May 31. The announcement comes as confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Iraq reached 3964 as of Friday, May 22, with 147 associated fatalities. Local sources report that all of Iraq's provinces now have confirmed cases, with Baghdad being the worst affected with 1771 cases.

The Iraqi government has implemented a nine-day complete lockdown from May 22 to prevent further spread of the disease over the Eid al-Fitr holiday. A 72-hour complete lockdown is in place in the Kurdistan region from May 22 over the holiday. Previously, the Iraqi government announced the easing of certain measures on May 10, permitting businesses to reopen during daytime hours and modifying the nationwide curfew to 18:00 to 06:00 (local time). Dahuk province further permitted movement between districts, the reopening of work sites, and the resumption of public buses. These measures are likely to be reinstated following the Eid al-Fitr lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Tuesday, May 19, that the travel ban to the Kurdistan region would be extended to Monday, June 1.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected in the medium-term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed.

Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the outbreak as a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

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