KUWAIT: Photos taken early yesterday morning show deserted streets in Kuwait amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Kuwait has so far recorded 188 cases infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). With the exception of five cases in critical condition, all cases are in stable condition and are recovering in quarantined locations designated by the government for this purpose, while hundreds have been discharged after exhibiting no symptoms during their 14-day quarantine period, the Ministry of Health confirmed.

Meanwhile, 30 people have recovered completely after previously been infected with the virus, the ministry said. Kuwait is taking measures to test Kuwaitis coming from infected areas for potential infection, as it has already tested thousands of people, the overwhelming majority of them have returned from Iran. Meanwhile, Kuwait requires all expatriates who arrived from travel on March 1 and beyond to visit Kuwait International Fairground where the Ministry of Health has set up a center at Hall 6 to test people for possible infection.

Precautions
Kuwait enforced a country-wide curfew as of Sunday from 5:00 pm to 4:00 am until further notice. Kuwait halted all commercial flights to and from the Gulf Arab state starting March 13 and until further notice, with the exception of cargo flights. Authorities also announced a public holiday in the country from March 12 to April 9, with work resuming on April 12, while entities providing vital services will remain open.

The government decided to close all shopping malls, beauty salons and barber shops as part of its measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The government also allowed restaurants to host a maximum of five people at a time and in case there are lines, the distance must be at least one meter between people.

State departments have been on high alert to take precautions against the potential spread of the virus. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has taken measures to make sure that facial masks, hand sanitizers and other goods remain accessible to the public. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has suspended classes for March at all public and private schools (for both students and teaching staffs); first from March 1 to March 12, and later extended it until March 29. In the meantime, the Civil Service Commission suspended the biometric fingerprint system for staff attendance until further notice.

Visa suspension
Kuwait suspended issuing entry permits and visas unless those issued through diplomatic missions. Previously, authorities have stopped issuing all kinds of visas (visit, work, etc) for Egyptian nationals, while allowing those who already have a visa to enter only after they take tests in Cairo before coming to Kuwait. In the meantime, Iraq has suspended flights from Kuwait, whereas Saudi Arabia stopped issuing umrah visas for all nationalities as a precautionary measures.

The Civil Service Commission directed all government agencies to bar employees placed under any form of quarantine from resuming work. The ban is applicable on Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees. Salary payments will continue as usual to all Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees under all kinds of compulsory quarantine.

Types of quarantine
All arrivals to Kuwait from Egypt, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Germany, France, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom are to be placed under quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, all arrivals to Kuwait International Airport coming from other countries must enter 14-day mandatory home self-quarantine.

Hotlines

  • The Ministry of Health has set the following hotlines to receive inquiries about the coronavirus 24/7: 24970967 – 96049698 – 99048619.
  • The Education Ministry set the following hotlines to receive inquiries on school closures related to the anti-coronavirus measures:

o 24970967 (24/7 hotline)
o 51575591 (Capital Educational Zone)
o 51576117 (Hawally Educational Zone)
o 51576576 (Farwaniya Educational Zone)
o 51577055 (Jahra Educational Zone)
o 51577655 (Ahmadi Educational Zone)
o 51577951 (Mubarak Al-Kabeer Educational Zone)
o 51578171 (Religious Studies Department)
o 51588599 (Private Education Department)
o 51592515 (Services Department)
o 51594544 (Public Relations Department)