Skip to main content

Iraq announces 10-day lockdown amid virus surge

Iraq, which is struggling to vaccinate its population, recently topped 1 million coronavirus cases.
An Iraqi man rides his bicycle past a closed mosque in Baghdad on Feb. 19, 2021, as authorities reimposed partial lockdown measures until early March after detecting a new strain of the coronavirus.

Iraq is imposing a 10-day lockdown as the country experiences a surge in new coronavirus infections, coupled with a slow vaccine rollout.

From May 12-22, mass gatherings are prohibited and malls, cafes, cinemas, parks, event halls, swimming pools, gymnasiums will remain closed. Pharmacies and grocery stores are exempt, and restaurants can provide takeout only.

During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the recommendations of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety were approved, which included halting in-person learning at schools and universities.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said the new lockdown measures come in response to “an increase in the number of cases throughout Iraq.”

Last month, Iraq topped 1 million coronavirus infections. On Tuesday, health officials confirmed 6,143 new cases and 42 deaths from the virus, raising the total since the start of the pandemic to 1,086,141 cases and 15,608 deaths.

Until further notice, Iraqis are barred from traveling to and from India, which has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot. Iraqis currently in India who wish to return home must quarantine for 14 days.

Less than 1% of Iraq’s population of 40 million has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Since rolling out its national vaccination campaign in late March, just 358,104 people had received jabs as of Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging Iraqis to sign up for a vaccination online or by visiting a health clinic to receive either the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Sinopharm vaccine.

Last month, a fire tore through a Baghdad hospital set up for COVID-19 patients, leaving at least 82 people dead and dozens injured. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi blamed the blaze on negligence and ordered an investigation into how it started.

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.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

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