Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Iraq to impose 24-hour daily curfew nationwide, July 30-Aug. 9, during Eid al-Adha holiday.
- Alert Begins: 27 Jul 2020 04:32 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 14 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions, heightened security
The Federal Government of Iraq plans to impose a nationwide 24-hour daily curfew, July 30-Aug. 9, to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The curfew coincides with the Eid al-Adha holiday due to take place July 31-Aug. 3. Officials added that they would review the curfew after the holiday. Currently, the nationwide 2100-0500 daily curfew Sundays to Wednesdays and 24-hour daily curfew Thursdays through Saturdays remain in place until July 29.
Authorities lifted the ban on commercial passenger flights July 23. Travelers flying to Iraq have to take a COVID-19 test 48 hours before their trip. Additionally, the border crossings of al-Munzariyah and al-Shaib with Iran, and Safwan with Kuwait, reopened July 23. Shopping malls were also allowed to open, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), authorities allowed some travel between the region and the rest of Iraq from July 23. Individuals can travel for work, health, and commercial purposes but must first apply for an electronic permit online. Authorities previously lifted the ban on travel between KRG's governorates July 21 and announced that the region's airports would reopen Aug. 1
Other measures taken by the Iraqi government include:
- Travel between governorates is banned.
- All travelers to Iraq will be subject to 14 days of quarantine.
- Residents must wear protective face coverings when outside their homes and observe social-distancing guidelines at all times.
- Vehicles are not allowed to carry more than seven passengers.
- Large gatherings and religious services remain suspended until further notice.
- Essential businesses, including pharmacies, fuel stations, and grocery stores, are exempt from the closure order.
Authorities could ease restrictions related to COVID-19 or implement additional preventative measures, depending on the disease activity in the coming days and weeks.
Background and Analysis
Iraq's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19). COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.