KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs an extraordinary cabinet meeting through live video call Friday. – KUNA photos

KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs Maryam Al-Aqeel said Friday cooperate societies, ration supply branches and gas cylinder distributors would continue offering services during a full curfew, to enter force at 4:00 pm today. People can make an appointment online at www.moci.shop to shop in the co-op society located in their respective area of residence. An appointment can be made once a week for a 30-minute shopping period.

Aqeel, also Minister of State for Economic Affairs, called on the public to abide by the health instructions while shopping. Aqeel, at an online press conference following the extraordinary cabinet meeting, said people could do online booking for shopping at cooperative societies, which should once a week by one person only. She added people who live in areas with no cooperative societies could shop in neighboring areas.

Kuwait’s government decided Friday to impose a full curfew as of 4:00 pm today, May 10, until May 30, as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but would only allow people to exercise for two hours a day inside their areas and without cars being used. The government, in a live video call chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, decided to limit issuance of curfew permits for people working in vital departments, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh said in a statement. It formed emergency teams in the six governorates to follow up implementation of curfew and deal with emergency cases, said Saleh, also Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs.

Public cooperation
Saleh meanwhile urged citizens and expatriates to cooperate with security authorities towards implementing a full curfew ‘for their own safety.’ “We are in the last phase of these measures and it is the full curfew, which will extend until after Eid Al-Fitr,” Saleh said during the press conference. This will be followed by “gradual return to normal life, and by then the health authorities will have completed all necessary tests and deal with this disease,” said Saleh.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah said that the ministry is capable of receiving and isolating coronavirus patients who do not show symptoms while they are in mandatory quarantine. “At this stage, we can provide mandatory quarantine for coronavirus patients,” Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah told an online news conference following the meeting. MoH is placing those patients in mandatory quarantine in order to lessen speed of spread of the virus, he said. Sheikh Basel said 50 percent of infected did not show symptoms thus their presence in hospitals were not required, so they were sent to mandatory quarantine facilities.

Daily exercise
The government gave people a grace period between 4:30 – 6:30 pm every day to exercise inside residential areas but without use of cars. They, however, need to wear masks and abide by physical distancing, said Saleh. He said only necessary government departments would be working, stopping of operation of private sector unless contractors determined by the cabinet, stopping home deliveries with exception of cooperative societies, food stores and pharmacies. Saleh also said live interview by media outlets would be suspended to be replaced by online interviews.

Distribution of newspapers and media publications will be halted too. The government hoped the public would abide by the full curfew and comply with health authorities’ instructions, foremost staying at home, avoid crowds, physical distancing and the use of masks. This compliance, said Saleh, would contribute to curbing and ultimately elimination of the virus, which would allow gradual reopening and return of normal life.

Field hospital
The cabinet also assigned the Public investment Authority to hand over Al-Khairan Resort to the Ministry of Health to be used as a field hospital. It instructed the MoH to hand over the remaining quantity of masks it received from Ministry of Commerce and Industry to the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the latter would be distributing them to the cooperative societies to be sold by 100 fils per mask. The government urged all people to wear any type of masks in all public areas, shopping centers and work places.

The MoH will instruct pharmacies to provide masks for the public, said Saleh. Meanwhile, people who were renting from ministries and government departments will be exempted from payment of the lease during these exceptional times. The government, on the other hand, thanked the team that accomplished the repatriation plan of Kuwaiti citizens between April 19 and May 6, a plan that was conducted upon instructions of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Violating expats
In the meantime, Saleh said that expatriates who are in violation of residency law will be deported at the expense of their sponsors. The government will not pay for the deportation of the violating expatriates, said Saleh, because it would be at the expense of the sponsors of those persons, a statement by the cabinet said. The Ministry of Interior allowed expatriates who are in violation of the residency law to leave the country without paying any fines. Those expatriates of different nationalities came forward for registration centers during April and the deportation process already began.

Separately, the cabinet during the meeting welcomed the new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi who won the parliament’s confidence late on Wednesday. The government hoped the new government would contribute to Iraq’s security, stability and prosperity, Saleh said. It hoped relations with Iraq continued to flourish in all domains in a drive to honor aspirations of people of the two countries, and boost security and stability of the region. – KUNA