Giving few details, Sulaimani official says different rules will be in effect for businesses after lockdown

A man walks near Sulaimani's main bazaar on April 2, 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown (NRT Digital Media/Winthrop Rodgers)

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SULAIMANI — Head of the Sulaimani Municipal Joint Committee Lashkir Hamid said on Sunday (April 5) that after the 48-hour total lockdown markets and shops will operate under different rules than during the previous period of curfew in a renewed effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We have made a new plan and made every preparation for reopening and the way that the bakeries, markets, butcher shops, fruit and vegetable bazaar will work,” following the expiration of the lockdown at 12 p.m. on Monday, he said.

Despite the announcement, Hamid did not provide any details about the new plan.

Sulaimani Governor Haval Abubakr said in a statement that individuals must contentiously protect themselves so that normal life and work can start again.

“The community should take legal measures with anyone who violates the instructions and regulations, against anyone who behaves recklessly and puts their health in danger,” said Abubakir, adding that residents should use masks and gloves during work and while traveling and practice social distancing.

The Kurdistan Region is currently under a total lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus with businesses closed and driving and pedestrian movement prohibited, which represented a tightening of restrictions from the curfew that has been in effect in at least some parts of the Region since March 14. That curfew will last until at least April 10.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a tweet that the lockdown was necessary “after a rise in curfew violations and coronavirus cases.”

However, the KRG came under some criticism for the way they announced the total lockdown in the very late hours of Friday night. The news sent residents rushing to the stores for supplies and creating crowded conditions in many places, which is precisely the opposite of what public health officials have recommended.

So far, 233 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region. Eighty-five patients have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus infection and at least two patients have died from it

(NRT Digital Media)