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27 Mar 2020 | 08:02 AM UTC

Iraq: Nationwide lockdown extended to April 11 /update 16

Nationwide COVID-19 lockdown extended to April 11; follow authority directives

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IRQ

Event

On Friday, March 27, Iraqi authorities announced an extension to the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The lockdown, which was to initially end on Saturday, March 28, will remain in place until Saturday, April 11. While many provinces established curfews, the decision applies to the entire country. The country's airports are closed, as are schools, universities, religious sites, and other gathering places.

In Baghdad, a travel ban prohibiting any travel into or out of the city, first implemented on Tuesday, March 17, will be extended until 23:00 (local time) on March 28. It is unclear whether this will be extended under the aforementioned policy change.

As of March 27, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iraq has risen to 382 with 36 fatalities and 105 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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) labelled the outbreak as 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.

Advice

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 non-essential 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.