Erbil and Basra international airports bar foreigners with recent travel to China from entering Iraq via those points of entry, Feb. 1.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 01 Feb 2020 22:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Multiple cities (map)
  • Start Time/Date: Feb. 1
  • Impact: Entry restrictions; likely increased immigration wait times

Summary
Authorities at Erbil International Airport (EBL) denied three Chinese nationals entry into the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Feb. 1. The three Chinese nationals were sent back to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates - from where they had flown to Erbil. The measure by authorities at EBL comes a day after officials at Basra International Airport (BSR) stated that they were denying entry to foreigners traveling from China to that point of entry. It is likely that authorities will implement similar travel restrictions at other airports throughout the country, including Baghdad International Airport (BGW).

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has announced that it will not issue electronic visas to Chinese travelers for at least 30 days. The ban comes amid the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The purpose of the travel restrictions is to prevent the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus a global health emergency.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel to Iraq. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.