January 17, 2021 | tourism

KRG bans travel to 21 countries amid spread of new COVID-19 strain

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdistan Region’s interior ministry announced a travel ban to 21 countries on Friday to curb the spread of the new variant of coronavirus in the Region.

According to the statement, Iraqi citizens cannot travel from the Kurdistan Region to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, the USA, Zambia and the Netherlands.

The ban is almost identical to that announced by the Iraqi government on Wednesday, with the exception of the Netherlands.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) banned travel to the UK, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Iran and Japan on December 22.

However, travel to Iran is now allowed from both federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

“Travel will be normalized for the tourists through Haji Omran, Bashmakh and Parwezkhan,” added Friday's statement, referring to three main border crossings between the Kurdistan Region and Iran.

The new measures will take effect from Friday midnight, said the ministry.

Iraqi citizens can return from the listed countries but have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Staff of United Nations (UN) organizations, other international organizations, the global coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) and official delegations will be also be allowed to enter the Region.

Coronavirus cases in both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq have dropped dramatically recently, but fears have grown over the new variant of the virus, which was first found in the United Kingdom.

No case of the new strain of the virus has been recorded in Iraq or the Kurdistan Region but suspected cases have been identified.


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