A major hospital in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, said it will only accept Chinese coronavirus patients amid a skyrocketing number of new cases in the region, Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported.
The West Erbil Emergency Hospital has “been fully emptied and from today will only admit COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] patients,” the facility’s director, Dr. Karwan Yasin, told Rudaw on Monday. “We will not accept any other patients.”
“The 100-bed capacity hospital has so far received five [coronavirus] patients who are now in intensive care,” Erbil Health Department spokesperson Dr. Bzhar Musa said.
On Monday, the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health said it had recorded 348 new infections and 14 more deaths from the Chinese coronavirus in the past 24 hours, Kurdistan 24 reported Tuesday.
Since the start of the region’s coronavirus outbreak, “14,166 people have caught the virus in the Kurdistan Region, of whom 574 have died, and 9,413 have recovered,” the report stated, citing official data.
In response to the surging number of new coronavirus cases, Kurdistan’s Ministry of Interior announced on Monday it would extend lockdown measures across the Kurdistan Region in an effort to curb the virus’ spread.
“Travel between the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi provinces will be completely halted for one week,” the ministry said.
An inter-provincial travel ban already in place in Iraqi Kurdistan will continue, “unless a traveler presents a special permit issued by the Interior Ministry at security checkpoints located on provincial borders,” the announcement stated.
“Foreign diplomats, coalition Forces, U.N. agencies, and international organizations” will be granted special permission to travel throughout the Kurdistan Region during the lockdown.