The security forces in Kirkuk northern province resumed implementing partial lockdown at night in the excuse of guidelines to curb Covid-19 pandemic.
The campaign has been resumed by police on June 20th forcing the stores to shut down at 10 pm till 5 am, a measure valid yet skipped since last April.
A source in Kirkuk police anonymously said the guidelines existed but people were violating it pushing the security forces to implement it.
Security forces were deployed all over downtown of Kirkuk along with mobile security checkpoints, KirkukNow correspondent said.
The permanent security checkpoints at the entrances into the city stopped visitors and banned them from going into town.
In mid-February, the high national committee for health and safety chaired by Iraqi Prime Minster has decided to implement full lockdown on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and night curfew from 8 pm to 5 am effective Feb. 18 to March 8 due to spike in Covid- 19 cases.
The restrictions included shutdown of schools, intercity travel ban, compulsory masking and social distancing in the public. All mosques and worship houses were closed except during prayer times. Funerals, parties and social gatherings were banned. The penalty for violation of social gathering is 5M Iraqi Dinars ($3,500). The shutdown covered malls, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, and cinemas.
Iraq has witnessed a spike in Covid-19 infection cases from 1000 cases a day in January doubled five times. On March 12, over 4,600 positive cases were registered and 25 fatalities, summing the total to over 750,0000, the daily stand by ministry of health shows.
The weekend lockdown has been skipped months later as the curve of positive cases diminished yet partial lockdown from 10 pm to 5 am is still effective all over Iraq except Kurdistan northern region.
Video: Kirkuk June 2021- The security forces impose closure of Kirkuk stores and bazaars. KirkukNow
In mid-May, the local authorities followed a few weeks lockdown according to guidelines of the Iraqi federal government. Later it was replaced by partial lockdown from 10 pm to 5 am following protests by the store owners, restaurants and malls.
Nabil Boushnaq, Kirkuk health director said “despite the high curve of Covid-19 and hospitalization of 75 cases of Covid-19 in Kirkuk hospitals but we have not asked for curfew but ma be some other groups in the crisis cell did.”
On June 20th, Kirkuk has registered 114 positive cases of Covid-19 and one death. Our of 1.6 million, only about 28,000 cases have received the jab Iraq commenced last March.
The suburbs of Kirkuk are following the strict procedures issued by Kirkuk administration.
A source in Daquq told KirkukNow on the condition of anonymity that guidelines for imposing night curfew have been circulated by Kirkuk police.
Out of 48,000 cases of Covid-19 in Kirkuk since March 2020, over 45,000 have recovered and 1003 deaths reported
The oil rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq's second largest oil reserves, is ethnically a mixed province of Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of the disputed territories between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.
Kirkuk, 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is part of disputed territories runs from Shingal on the Syrian border southeast to Khanaqin and Mandali on the Iranian border. Kurds whom controlled Kirkuk and most of the disputed territories from 2003 up to October 2017, wanted Kirkuk to become part of the Kurdistan region through a referendum about independence for Kurdistan, which has been strongly opposed by the regions with Arab and Turkmen populations.