Iraqis will celebrate Eid Al Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, under full lockdown in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Iraq’s Cabinet approved plans presented by the country’s Higher Committee for Health and Public Safety on Tuesday to impose a 10-day lockdown starting from May 12.
Shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, parks, swimming pools and gyms will be closed and social events such as wedding parties will be cancelled, the Cabinet confirmed.
“This is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and to apply precautionary measures through social distancing and other measures, given the increase in confirmed cases,” it said.
Iraq's Muslims are observing Ramadan in a partial nightly lockdown from 8pm to 5am to prevent gatherings during a new wave of coronavirus infections. A 24-hour lockdown is being applied on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pharmacies, bakeries, supermarkets and groceries are exempt from the lockdown. Restaurants will be allowed to make food deliveries.
Iraq experienced a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks. Last month, the nation crossed the grim milestone of one million confirmed cases.
As of Monday, the country registered 5,068 new cases and 30 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 1,079,998 and fatalities to 15,566, according to Health Ministry figures.
It is still unclear when the three-day Eid holiday starts because it depends on a Moon sighting, but it is likely to start on May 12.