Iraq announces additional measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) March 7. Further travel restrictions likely.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 07 Mar 2020 06:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, health screenings, increased immigration wait times, business closures

Summary
Iraqi authorities announced a series of new measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, March 7. The government's crisis unit stated that shopping centers would only open three hours a day while schools and universities will remain closed till March 21. Government offices will also be operational for only a few hours a day beginning March 7.

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced March 6 that Iraq would bar entry to foreigners from France, Nigeria, Spain, and Turkey. This ban does not include Iraqi citizens and foreign diplomats. Iraq previously barred entry to foreigners from Bahrain, China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand until further notice. The Iraqi Border Ports Authority announced that Iraq would suspend trade with Iran and Kuwait March 8-15 to allow the Ministry of Health time to organize its response to the spread of COVID-19. Iraqis that are currently in Iran will be allowed to return to Iraq as usual until March 15, after which they will be subject to unspecified health screenings and disease prevention measures.

The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to be a global health emergency. COVID-19 originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. As of March 6, Iraqi authorities confirmed at least 38 cases of the disease.

Advice
Plan for resulting business disruptions. Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Follow all official immigration and health-screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, 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.

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