Late on the evening of 3 April, KRG officials announced the implementation of a complete lockdown in the KR-I for a 48-hour period beginning at noon on 4 April. This includes the “Cancelation of all permission previously given to people to travel between 01:00 AM to 06:00 AM. Shops, bakeries and all other services will also be shut except for a limited number of pharmacies.” All travel including pedestrian movements were suspended. Drivers violating the lockdown will be prosecuted, and their vehicles will be impounded. All travel permits previously issued by various government authorities were cancelled, with a total stop in movements assessed by many operations in response. Exclusions encompassed security personnel, medical personnel, and journalists, but only within the capacity of their official duties.
Other previously established components of the curfew in the KR-I remain in effect, and will continue through 10 April. Further extensions are likely. During a later press conference, KRG Minister of Interior Rebar Ahmed explained that the lockdown was conducted so that authorities could reevaluate the overall situation. “The threat of coronavirus is bigger than you think, so we call on people to take it seriously,” he said. The lockdown does not accompany a significant spike in cases in the KR-I, but authorities were concerned about the continued rise in infections and prevalent curfew violations. This was said to include a curfew held in Erbil despite a ban on gatherings, and 14 resulting infections.
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