Prime Minister Barzani chairs cabinet meeting on coronavirus, warns disease still a threat

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a cabinet meeting via video conference to discuss the ongoing coronavirus threat. He thanked the public for their resilience and commitment to the lockdown measures aimed at containing the disease and urged continued compliance.

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani also attended the meeting, in which the Prime Minister said the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) proactive measures to fight the coronavirus have worked.

The Prime Minister said local authorities have taken steps in lifting some social distancing measures to normalize peoples’ lives, while key mitigation measures remain in place to prevent a rebound of the disease. These efforts will continue to ensure life goes back to normal in a phased manner.

The cabinet also discussed the recent visit by a KRG delegation to Baghdad, as discussions continue during the difficult economic situation regarding the Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget.

The cabinet reiterated its commitment to the agreement reached with the Iraqi Ministries of Oil, Finance and Planning in late 2019 concerning this year’s budget.

The cabinet also stressed that they will do their best to pay the salaries of government employees on time. They reiterated that any payment delays are due to falling oil prices and the coronavirus lockdown measures, as well as the delay in receiving the KRG’s budget allocation from Baghdad.

Finally, the cabinet wished a happy Ramadan to Muslims in the Kurdistan Region, and decided that schools, mosques, churches and other places of worship will remain closed to prevent community transmission and a resurgence of the coronavirus.

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