Baghdad, May 16 : Iraqi authorities have lifted the planned 10-day full lockdown to curb the rising Covid-19 infections, and replaced it with a partial curfew.
The authorities had earlier decided to tighten pandemic-related restrictive measures, including a full curfew from May 12 to 22, reports Xinhua news agency.
Malls, restaurants, cafes, and other public facilities were required to be closed.
A after the full curfew came into effect on May 12, a statement by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety said that the committee decided to ease the restriction and replace the full curfew with a partial one to facilitate the vaccination campaign.
A statement of the Ministry of Health revealed that the daily count of citizens receiving vaccines before May 12 exceeded 21,000, while decreased sharply to 8,774 on May 13 and 3,825 on May 14, apparently due to the curfew and the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Ziyad al-Jubouri, a professor of economics at Baghdad University, told Xinhua that vaccination is an essential process to contain the pandemic and help the country return to normality.
However, he said facilitating vaccination is not the only reason that prompted the higher committee to quickly lift the full curfew. He also attributed the decision to the the economic difficulties faced by people in the war-torn country, where the poverty rate is about 27 per cent.
The previously announced full curfew angered many laborers, stall vendors, and other self-employed craftsmen who were living hand-to-mouth and anxiously waiting to do a brisk trade during the last several days of the Ramadan and the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Hundreds of citizens rallied in Baghdad and some other provinces to protest against the restrictions, particularly the full curfew.
As of Saturday, Iraq’s caseload reached 1,136,917 with 15,930 deaths.