By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The council of ministers yesterday decided to lift the partial curfew, imposed a few months ago to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, from the first day of Eid Al-Fitr starting Thursday, the government spokesman said. Tareq Al-Mazrem said that the partial curfew will end at 1 am on the first day of the Eid on Thursday, adding that the country is heading for reopening various sectors on gradual basis. Mazrem also said that the ban on the entry of all expatriates into Kuwait will continue indefinitely, and any exemptions must be made by the coronavirus high committee.

The council of ministers also decided to partially re-open restaurants and cafes but continued the ban on dining inside them. Customers will be allowed to receive their orders in person but without sitting inside. Mazrem also said that the Cabinet also decided to shut all commercial activities from 8 pm to 5 am except pharmacies, food stores, medical stores, restaurants and cafes.

Cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen only for people who have been vaccinated, provided customers strictly adhere to all health conditions like wearing facemasks and observing social distancing, Mazrem said. The Cabinet also decided to halt all commercial flights, except cargo service, with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka due to the prevailing pandemic situation in those countries.

Travelers from the four countries are banned from arriving into Kuwait directly and must spend at least 14 days in a third country, he said. Mazrem said authorities hope to move gradually into further easing the restrictions as the health condition in the country stabilizes and more people are vaccinated.

The Cabinet approved holding the Eid prayers but for only 15 minutes in strict compliance with all health conditions, he said. The government spokesman also said that a decision by the Cabinet to ban unvaccinated Kuwaitis from leaving the country will be implemented from May 22 as was announced.

The Cabinet decided yesterday to increase the percentage of employees in public and private offices to a maximum of 60 percent starting from May 17. All public and private celebrations including weddings and gatherings at Diwaniyas will continue to be banned, Mazrem added.