Restrictions on tourist buses entering Erbil from central, southern Iraq: official

FILE: Cars enter the Kurdistan Region through a checkpoint (FILE)

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SULAIMANI — Authorities in Erbil have banned tourist buses from entering the governorate through southern and western checkpoints due to concerns about the spread of new coronavirus variants in other parts of Iraq.

The restriction went into effect on Friday evening (February 26), Head of Erbil Checkpoints Salam Khoshnaw told NRT.

New coronavirus infections have surged across Iraq in recent weeks. On Friday health authorities recorded 4,336 new cases and fourteen deaths over the previous 24 hours. On Saturday, the Kurdistan Region announced it recorded 78 new cases.

Of particular concern are the new coronavirus variants that have begun to circulate in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

When federal authorities imposed a nighttime curfew on central and southern governorates earlier this month, large numbers of people entered the Kurdistan Region looking to avoid the lockdown.

Checkpoints between Duhok and Sulaimani governorates remain open and trade continues to flow between Erbil and federal areas.

(NRT Digital Media)