Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Coronavirus curfew shuts down cities in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Pigeons are the only visitors to Erbil’s citadel, normally buzzing with tourists, and security forces in masks and gloves have emptied cobblestone streets below as the Iraqi city goes into lockdown.

Overnight Friday to Saturday, Erbil and the city of Sulaimani, both in Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region, began a 48-hour curfew to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Moving around is banned and people must stay home,” the region’s interior ministry said in a statement.

Iraq has registered at least 10 deaths and more than 90 cases of COVID-19. The first recorded fatality was a 70-year-old imam in Sulaimani, and 28 others in the region are confirmed to have been infected.

On Saturday in Sulaimani, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) southeast of Erbil, men in protective gear and with green disinfectant tanks strapped to their backs sprayed down sidewalks and store fronts.

Ambulances and fire trucks could be seen driving through the city streets, which were otherwise clear of activity.

Iraq has been particularly worried about a spread of the virus from neighbouring Iran, which has been one of the worst-hit countries.

More than 600 people have died and over 12,000 have been infected by the novel coronavirus in Iran, which shares a border of around 1,500-kilometres (over 900 miles) with Iraq.