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Northeast Syria imposes 'total lockdown' due to virus

The new measures coincide with Ramadan and follow a relatively high number of new COVID-19 cases in the autonomous region.
A 120-bed ward at a specialized hospital for coronavirus cases inaugurated by the Kurdish Red Crescent around 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside the city of Hasakeh after the first COVID-19 death was reported in the northeastern region, Syria, April 20, 2020.

A lockdown will begin in northeast Syria on Tuesday as authorities attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus during Ramadan and following a relatively large number of new infections.

The “full lockdown” will last until April 22 and is a complete ban on nonessential movement. There are some exceptions: Supermarkets can remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pharmacies, hospitals, humanitarian organizations and journalists are also exempt, according to a Sunday statement from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

The administration is a self-governing entity in northeast Syria. It is led by the Democratic Union Party, which supports Kurdish autonomy in the region. The Syrian government has a presence in the administration’s territory but does not fully recognize its authority.

The new lockdown follows a relatively high number of local coronavirus cases. The administration reported 201 new cases on Monday. The Qamishli-based Rojava Information Center said that the new lockdown was prompted by northeast Syria experiencing “its all-time highest Coronavirus rates,” according to a tweet last week.

The new restrictions also coincide with the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began on Monday. Many Middle Eastern governments have issued restrictions for the occasion, which typically features people gathering for meals and prayer.

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