January 14, 2021 | government

KRG spox: Schools to reopen for final-year students on Saturday


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Students in the 12th grade will on Saturday return to Kurdistan Region schools that have been shut for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) spokesperson has said.

The KRG’s coronavirus crisis cell met on Wednesday to review previous decisions to curb the spread of the virus in the Kurdistan Region – including school closures.

The decision to reopen schools was made with input from both the education and health ministries, KRG spokesperson Jotiar Adil said after the meeting.

The education ministry will soon announce its “detailed” plan for the reopening of schools, Adil said, with the decision to be reviewed on February 2.

“Schools will reopen for other grades on March 1,” he added.

Schools were first closed in late February 2020, before coronavirus cases had been recorded in Iraq. They were reopened in mid-September for grade 12 students, and in October for students in grades one and two.

The cell decided to close schools again on November 1, due to a spike in cases of the virus. The closure was extended to January 7 by the crisis cell at the beginning of December.

Coronavirus case numbers in the Kurdistan Region have fallen in recent weeks.

The Kurdistan Region recorded 158 new cases of the virus, 978 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours, the KRG health ministry announced on Wednesday. The Region has recorded 104,774 coronavirus cases, including 82,901 recoveries and 3,427 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.

A suspected case of the new coronavirus variant wreaking havoc elsewhere in the world was recorded in Duhok province, KRG health minister Saman Barzanji said in a statement released on Wednesday, with testing for the variant currently underway.

The man suspected of having contracted the new variant was returning home from the United Kingdom, one of the countries worst-affected by the new variant.

“We are capable of testing and diagnosing the new variant of coronavirus but currently [our capability] is limited and we are trying to expand it,” Barzanji said.

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