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Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq imposes partial lockdown amid rising virus cases

The measure follows other anti-virus restrictions in recent days and the start of a vaccination campaign in the autonomous part of northern Iraq.
nurse with covid patient in Erbil

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has instituted a partial lockdown to combat the continued spread of COVID-19. 

A ban on movement will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Thursday until Tuesday. Diplomats, international military personnel, humanitarian organizations and journalists are exempt from the restrictions, the KRG said in a statement Wednesday.

The autonomous Kurdistan Region is experiencing a relatively high number of daily COVID-19 cases. The region registered more than 1,200 new infections Wednesday. The highest ever in a single day was more than 1,600 cases Oct. 27, according to KRG statistics

The KRG has sought to mitigate the spread by reimposing closures. Last week, it ordered gyms, pools and schools closed, and required restaurants to close at 9 p.m., among other measures. On Tuesday, the KRG restricted travel to and from Iraqi provinces controlled by the federal government. 

The relative outbreak coincides with rising cases in federal Iraqi territory and neighboring Iran

The Kurdistan Region has begun vaccinating health workers, but its roughly 50,000 doses are nowhere near enough to vaccinate its more than 6 million population. KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said Wednesday that “more are on the way”  and encouraged people to register for the vaccine and to abide by health guidelines in the meantime.

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