Iraq eases coronavirus curfew days before start of Ramadan
Iraqi authorities on Tuesday partially scaled back the 24-hour curfew imposed to contain the new coronavirus in a move to balance the restrictions for the month of Ramadan.
The new curfew will be implemented mainly at night, from 7pm until 6am local time as of April 21 until May 11.
The total ban, however, will stay in place on Fridays and Saturday.
Restrictions on public gatherings, and social distancing rules and gatherings of more than three people remain prohibited while restaurants and cafes will be permitted to provide delivery services only.
Schools, universities, sport venues, malls and places of worship will also remain closed in Iraq.
International travel in and out of the country as well as between provinces is also still suspended.
Iraqi health authorities urged all citizens to follow health guidelines, and to only leave home when it is necessary.
Ramadan, which is expected to begin on Thursday or Friday, is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims refrain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
The partial lifting of the 24-hour curfew will give Baghdad residents a window to make their final purchases ahead of the start of the holy month.
The Iraqi Health Ministry has confirmed 1,574 cases of the coronavirus and 82 deaths.
The virus causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks.
But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems.
Agencies contributed to this report.