• Controversy over expat deportees
  • Illegal expats can leave without paying fines in April, can return in future

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh yesterday issued a stern warning that the government will resort to extending the existing nightly curfew to impose a total curfew if people continue to ignore complying with instructions to stay home.

“We will not hesitate to extend the partial curfew or impose a total curfew if people continue to ignore complying with directives of the health authorities, especially outside the curfew hours,” the minister said on Twitter.

“Under these circumstances, staying at home is the rule, and going out should be under extreme necessity. We urge all to cooperate in confronting the corionavirus,” Saleh said.

Authorities have repeatedly warned that expanding the current 5 pm to 4 am curfew or announcing a total curfew remains a potential possibility as long as people do not stay at home.

The new call comes as the number of new cases has picked up, especially with the repatriation of hundreds of Kuwaitis from several countries.

The health ministry announced yesterday 20 new cases, raising the total to 255, as three more cases recovered, bringing total recoveries to 67.

Ministry spokesman Abdullah Al-Sanad said 188 cases are being treated, of which 12 are in the intensive care unit. As many as 910 people have been discharged from quarantine.

Meanwhile, Minister of Social Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel retracted a statement yesterday in which she said a part of donations raised in a campaign will be used to buy air tickets for thousands of expatriates slated for deportation.

The minister said that nothing from the donations, estimated at over KD 9 million, will be used to cover travel expenses of deported expats, but some of the donations will be used to fund shelters for illegal expats who decide to go home.

The ministry of interior has offered a one-month amnesty starting from April 1 to tens of thousands of expats living illegally in the country to leave without paying any fines and with the promise to be allowed to return when the situation normalizes.

The interior ministry has prepared 12 schools in the six governorates, six each for males and females, for such expats who prefer to go home.

The ministry said that those who refuse to go will be penalized and denied re-entry into the country.