Baghdad Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired, today, Wednesday, a meeting of the Supreme Committee for Health and National Safety.
During the meeting, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, they discussed the seriousness of the current epidemiological situation throughout the country, and the significant increase in the number of infections during the past three weeks, as well as the Ministry of Health’s plan to increase vaccination outlets for the next stage.
The Prime Minister praised the great efforts made by the health and medical staff in all hospitals, and their response to the pandemic and the provision of services to the infected people, especially after the significant increase in the number of infections and the serious repercussions it poses to the individual and society.
Al-Kadhimi stressed the need for all citizens to cooperate with the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health and the decisions of the Supreme Committee for National Health and Safety, to adhere to preventive measures to protect themselves and their families from the risk of infection, and to go to vaccination outlets to take the vaccine in order to reach the collective immunity.
The meeting witnessed a discussion of the recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Health and a number of relevant ministries, which relate to a set of measures to contain the pandemic and reduce its danger and spread, and the following decisions were taken:
First, agree to the following:
1- Emphasis on ministries and agencies not associated with the Ministry and the governorates, instructing their departments to provide health departments/health centers within the geographical area with lists that include the numbers of their employees covered by vaccination as soon as possible, to include them in their plans for distributing (Covid-19) vaccines in health sectors and centers and expedite the process of vaccinating them at the vaccination outlets in those centers, or by sending vaccination teams to those sites according to the plan prepared for this purpose, in addition to urging their employees to register on the electronic platform and book to take the (Covid-19) vaccine in the institution in which he wishes to be vaccinated.
2- Extension of the exemption granted to the Ministry of Health and Environment pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Committee for Health and National Safety No. (6 of 2021) until December 13, 2021.
3- Implementation of the project to issue an international vaccination certificate in the People’s Clinics Department.
4- Conducting final exams for the current academic year in public and private universities, according to what was stated in the letter of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research No. T / M / D / 4479 dated June 15, 2021 with the application of preventive measures.
5- Confirming the obligation of the Media and Communications Commission to all media channels to broadcast awareness programs on the benefits of vaccination against (Covid-19) and urging citizens to pre-book through the electronic platform for vaccination with (Covid-19) vaccines available in hospitals and health centers throughout the governorates of Iraq.
6- Continuing to impose a partial curfew in Baghdad and all governorates from 11 pm until 5 am, all days of the week.
7- Giving the authority to determine the official working hours of state institutions (including pregnant employees and women who have children under six years old) to ministries and agencies not affiliated with a ministry, at least (50%) according to what they deem appropriate and in proportion to the service provided, with the Ministry of Health employees continuing to work and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the security ministries and the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers by 100%, and obligating all employees to bring a negative (PCR) examination result for (Covid-19) disease weekly, or to bring a vaccine (card) that proves that they have been vaccinated with one of the (Covid-19) vaccines.
8- Continuing to close clubs and halls and not allow gatherings in all its forms.
9- Applying the principle of reciprocity and not allowing entry to non-Iraqi expatriates who have not completed their vaccination with vaccines used or approved for use in Iraq, from countries that require completing doses of certain vaccines to grant entry visas to Iraqi citizens.
10- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall provide the Ministry of Health with each request for exception submitted by the embassies of countries to their bodies or citizens residing or coming to Iraq regarding (vaccines or quarantine and the costs of examination (PCR) in travellers’ examination laboratories) the position of the countries regarding these procedures for our diplomatic bodies or our citizens for reciprocity with the communities of those countries residing in Iraq (including diplomatic missions).
11- Excluding diplomatic staff (with Indian nationality) from Paragraph (4) of Cabinet Resolution (158 of 2021) with a negative PCR examination within 72 hours of entering Iraq, proving that they are free of (Covid-19) disease with an obligatory quarantine at their workplace or residence, contact with others is not permitted except with a second negative (PCR) examination, on the fourteenth day of the mandatory quarantine, so that they can perform their work without confusion.
12- Excluding medical teams (holders of Indian nationality), or those coming from India from the travel ban restrictions to and from the Republic of Iraq, provided that they have been vaccinated with two doses of the (Covid-19) vaccine, and more than two weeks have passed since the last dose, and that they bring a (PCR) negative examination within 72 hours of entering Iraq, proving that they are free of (Covid-19) disease, with a negative (PCR) examination inside Iraq within (24) hours of their entry, and a mandatory quarantine in their residence for a period of (7) days, and they are not allowed to contact with others except by examining (PCR) a third negative on the seventh day of the mandatory quarantine.
Second / Approval of the entry mechanisms for the tourist groups listed below:
A- Health standards and conditions in light of the Coronavirus pandemic necessary to support religious tourism:
1- The visitor coming to Iraq submits a health insurance certificate to obtain an entry visa, which he presents upon entering the port, proving that he is free from infectious diseases and all epidemics, and covers all the examinations that must be performed in Iraq, including the (PCR) examination and quarantine procedures in Iraq if required.
2- The PCR examination is for each visitor coming at his expense inside the Baghdad and Najaf international airports, and the holy shrines are involved through cooperation with private laboratories licensed by the Ministry of Health, to prepare the examination, organize procedures, coordinate with tourism companies in quarantine procedures, and provide services treatment under the supervision of the health authorities.
3- Taking strict health measures in hotels, religious shrines and tourist facilities.
4- Requiring all workers in facilities related to visitors to take the vaccines related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
5- Determining the period of the visit for a period not exceeding (7) days from the date of entry.
6- The Tourism Authority, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, shall determine the number of visitors entering Iraq, or stop their grouping, according to its assessment of the situation of the pandemic in the countries of visitors coming from them and in Iraq.
B: Controls for granting entry visas:
1- Granting entry visas to those coming from the Gulf countries upon their arrival at Baghdad and Najaf International Airports.
2- Granting those coming from non-Gulf countries an entry visa for groups (5 people or more) to enter the manifest, with the guarantee of one of the Iraqi travel and tourism companies nominated by the Tourism Authority, and the company is responsible for developing an integrated program inside Iraq that includes following up on the entry visa, facilitating procedures at the port and the responsibility to inform the health authorities for those whose examination results are positive, movement within Iraq, housing reservations, providing meals, health care, and taking out the groups upon the expiry of the visa.
3- The single entry visa is granted if the number of visitors is less than (5) and they have a direct paid reservation at first or premium hotels exclusively, provided that the tourism authority undertakes to the hotel or the tourism company the responsibility of following up the entry visa, facilitating procedures at the port, and moving within Iraq, housing reservations, providing meals, health care and taking out the groups when the visa ends.
4- Entry visa is granted to tourist groups inside Baghdad and Najaf international airports arriving on Iraqi national carriers, with the guarantee of one of the Iraqi travel and tourism companies nominated by the Tourism Authority. At the port, and the responsibility to inform the health authorities about those whose examination results are positive, movement within Iraq, housing reservations, providing meals and health care, and taking out the totals upon the expiry of the visa).
5- The Ministry of Interior activates the role of tourism security by following up the movement of tourist groups within the period of the visa specified on (the manifestos) and holding violators accountable.
C- Responsibility of the Tourism Authority:
1- Preparing a list of the names of the first-class and excellent hotels, and the names of the tourism companies eligible for grouping and transporting visitors, making accommodation reservations and other obligations with visitors, and handing them over to the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs for the purpose of the entry visa granting procedure.
2- Creating an electronic program that shows approved tourism companies to group visitors to the holy shrines, and enables these companies to announce their programs and services to visitors. The Iraqi National Intelligence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented this program to complete their procedures for granting official approvals.
3- Conducting continuous follow-up on the role of tourism companies that support visitors to the holy shrines, identifying the services provided to visitors, addressing the obstacles that accompany the activities of these companies and holding those who are negligent to account.
4- Take quick action to activate the billing and financial settlement (BSP) system to reduce the work of travel and tourism companies that are not officially licensed, and to support travel and tourism companies as they are the most important link in order to facilitate their work, facilitate the visitor’s entry process and keep pace with the development reached by the countries of the world in this field.
D- Officially registered civil society organizations operating in the tourism sector (the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, the Association of Tourist and Transport Companies) and others, may submit reports to the Tourism Authority on the follow-up of visitors’ grouping procedures at all stages, the level of services provided to visitors, and the availability of health conditions in tourist facilities.
Source: National Iraqi News Agency