Iraq imposes curfews in several provinces to tackle coronavirus

Baghdad, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Iraqi authorities on Sunday imposed a curfew in several provinces and temporarily suspended certain flights in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of nine people in the Arab country.

A curfew is to be imposed in Baghdad from March 17-24, the Crisis Committee formed by the government to deal with the new and deadly virus decided, according to the state-run INA news agency.

Security forces and healthcare and service sector personnel, as well as journalists, are exempted from these restrictions, the committee added.

In the northern province of Saladin people will be prohibited from moving through the streets from Tuesday until 25 March.

Entry to and departure from the province will be prohibited during the curfew, according to Jamal Akab, the media officer at the governor’s office.

The movement restrictions, aimed at preventing the spread of the virus within the province, will not apply to the security forces or health care and service sector personnel, Akab added.

Akab said that shipment of goods and oil supplies will continue to the province, which has yet to report any coronavirus cases.

In Karbala, Gov. Nasef al-Khatabi announced a three-day curfew that will come into force as of Monday, while a movement ban will be effective in Dhi Qar starting today.

Nineveh province also took a similar step for two days, while the provinces of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah have extended the restrictions they announced on March 14 for three more days.

Iraq is to halt all flights from March 17-24, the committee said, confirming that intra-province movement will be suspended.

In the meantime, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported 14 newly detected coronavirus cases, bringing to 124 the number of confirmed infections nationwide.

China has been the country most heavily affected by the new coronavirus after it emerged in Wuhan, the capital city of the central province of Hubei, in December.

The virus has spread around the world with more than 132,000 global cases so far in 123 countries and territories and a death toll exceeding 5,000.

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic.


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