Pigeons are the only visitors to Arbil’s citadel, normally buzzing with tourists, and security forces in masks and gloves have emptied cobblestone streets below as the Iraqi city goes into lockdown.
Overnight Friday to Saturday, Arbil and the city of Sulaimaniyah, both in Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region, began a 48-hour curfew to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Moving around is banned and people must stay home,” the region’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Iraq has registered at least 10 deaths and more than 90 cases of COVID-19. The first recorded fatality was a 70-year-old imam in Sulaimaniyah, and 28 others in the region are confirmed to have been infected.
On Saturday in Sulaimaniyah, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Arbil, men in protective gear and with green disinfectant tanks strapped to their backs sprayed down sidewalks and store fronts.