Kurds impose 10-day curfew in northeast Syria amid COVID-19 wave

A YPG member stands near closed shops along an empty street as restrictions are imposed as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria, March 23, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria imposed a 10-day curfew on Tuesday in an attempt to try to limit the spread of coronavirus in the region that borders Turkey and Iraq.

Areas controlled by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters witnessed a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks overwhelming hospitals and clinics leading to the lockdown, according to the Associated Press.

Residents contacted by telephone told AP that most people were abiding by the lockdown with few people on the streets amid patrols and checkpoints enforcing the curfew.

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria said sectors not included in the curfew are bakeries, pharmacies, gas stations while restaurants will only be allowed to do takeaway.

The Syrian Kurds have also ordered to close crossing points between areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with areas held by government forces and those with insurgent groups in northeast Syria, AP reported.

“The speed in which the virus is spreading is huge,” said Jwan Mustafa who head the health department in northeast Syria. “The region has reached a very critical period and we cannot stop the spread.”

The region that is home to some 5 million people has registered 201 new cases and six deaths on Monday alone, bring the total of cases to 12,437 including 428 deaths.

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