On February 27, 2020 IRIS hosted Dr Nawroz Saeed, the Manager of the response to Coronavirus in Sulaimani Province, for an interview and discussion. Saeed spoke about the challenge that the outbreak poses for local & regional health policy.
1) The heightened concern about Coronavirus in Sulaimani Province is largely a product of the severity of the epidemic in Iran, which is witnessing abnormally high mortality rates from the virus. Saeed noted that his communications with Iranian health professionals indicate much higher number of cases than are being reported officially.
2) Saeed stressed that neither the KRG nor the federal Iraqi Government have total control over unofficial border crossings, raising concerns about the unaccounted entry of persons carrying the virus.
3) Though no cases have been reported to date, Sulaimani is currently making efforts to reduce large gatherings via school university closures. The government will likely “shut down the city” if multiple cases are confirmed locally. This would entail restrictions on travel and movement.