October 13, 2020 | government

KRG earmarks three billion dinars for autumn, winter coronavirus response


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has allotted an additional three billion dinars ($2.5 million) to the coronavirus response in the Kurdistan Region as it braces itself for a rise in cases in the cold of autumn and winter, the KRG health minister announced on Monday.

Health minister Saman Barzanji announced the new injection of funds while in Duhok for the opening of a 20-bed hospital for the treatment of serious coronavirus cases.

'We thank the KRG and the prime minister for making some significant decisions over the past few days to respond to the health ministry's needs, including the allocation of a budget of three billion dinars,' Barzanji said. 'The money is to provide for medical needs in autumn and winter.'

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani also agreed to fund 'a grant to [the families of] those health workers who have died due to coronavirus complications, numbering 48 so far,' Barzanji added.

The prime minister has also agreed on establishing new oxygen plants and improved provision of medical essentials across the Kurdistan Region, the health minister added.

The KRG had previously earmarked 28 billion dinars to combat the coronavirus, premier Barzani said on October 5.

'The government carries out 5,000 tests on a daily basis. So far, nearly half a million tests have been conducted across 28 various labs,' Barzani said.

More than 40 government-run facilities are taking in coronavirus patients across the Region, he added.

The Kurdistan Region has seen a total of 55,745 coronavirus cases and 1,992 related deaths since recording its first infection in March, according to the latest health ministry data published on Sunday evening.

Though case numbers have shown no signs of slowing, the KRG has lifted virtually all movement restrictions in the Kurdistan Region. However, the health ministry said last week that it would be tightening some measures designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Duhok, the Kurdistan Region province currently worst hit by the outbreak.

'There is not yet a plan to impose a nationwide curfew, but we will be tightening health regulations in Duhok province as infections and deaths in the province have gone up,' spokesperson Dr. Aso Hawezi told Rudaw.

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