Skip to main content

Iraq returns to lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases

Iraq registered more than 400 COVID-19 cases today, breaking the previously highest number from only a few days ago.
Closed shops are seen during a curfew imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Baghdad, Iraq May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily - RC2QZG9QKZIO

Iraq reimposed total lockdowns over the weekend following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

After meeting with his COVID-19 task force on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government decided to institute a nationwide curfew until June 6, 2020.

“The joint meeting underscored the importance of all citizens continuing to follow official health advice and physical distancing guidelines, and to comply with the curfew to keep themselves, their families and communities safe,” the government said in a press release announcing the restrictions.

Under the latest guidelines, only supermarkets, bakeries and pharmacies are allowed to remain open. These businesses cannot have more than five people in them at a time, and both employees and customers must wear masks. Some ministries will be closed, people must wear masks when outside and the closure of Iraq’s airports to commercial flights will continue until June 6. Restaurants will be allowed to deliver, according to the release.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi-Kurdistan also began a full lockdown today with similar restrictions until June 6, according to a KRG Department of Foreign Relations tweet.

The reimposed measures follow a recent uptick in cases throughout the country. Iraq first instituted measures to stop the virus in March. Travel was restricted and nonessential businesses had to close. In April, Iraq eased restrictions and allowed shops to reopen during certain hours, for example.

However, last week, Iraq registered its then highest ever number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day with 416. Shortly before that, the government reimposed lockdowns in parts of the capital city of Baghdad where there were relatively high numbers of infections.

Iraq again beat that number today with 429 cases. Baghdad and Sulaimaniyah in the Kurdistan Region are among the hardest hit areas with more than 100 new cases each, according to a release from the Iraqi Ministry of Health. The country has now had 6,868 cases in total, the ministry said.

In a statement today, the World Health Organization called the Iraqi government’s actions “necessary” due to the rise in the number of cases.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial