Travel Alert: CDC recommends Americans not travel to Iraq for Ashura
On August 7, 2020, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Alert that recommends that Americans not travel to Iraq for Ashura, which will take place around August 28–August 29, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the CDC also recommended that Americans already in Iraq not make the pilgrimage this year.
The CDC said attending mass gatherings, such as Ashura events, can increase the risk of getting COVID-19 disease. And older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness.
Ashura is a holy day and an occasion for a pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq.
"Today is arguably the most important day for Shias here in Iraq," said Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Karbala in 2019. "We spoke to members of the holy shrine authority earlier and they said more than three million visitors were in the city today for this event.