KUWAIT: Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah chairs a meeting with a team tasked with repatriation of Kuwaiti citizens back home. – KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah met with a team tasked with arranging repatriation of Kuwaiti citizens back home, to discuss means of guaranteeing safety of nationals until their return from abroad amidst the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a foreign ministry statement said.

The meeting, attended by President of Kuwait Red Crescent Society Dr Helal Al-Sayer and held at Seif Palace Saturday night, touched upon completion of urgent measures to deal with latest developments related to the coronavirus, added the statement. They also discussed coordination among relevant state bodies for the repatriation of Kuwaiti citizens. The meeting grouped representatives of the foreign, finance, interior, health and defense ministries, as well as Directorate General of Civil Aviation, KRCS and information technology agency.

Four incoming flights were scheduled yesterday to bring Kuwaiti repatriates from Iran, France and the United Kingdom. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on its official Twitter account on Saturday that two Al-Jazeera aircrafts would fly to Kuwait from Tehran, Iran; one scheduled at 12:00 am and the other 3:00 am. A Kuwait Airways plane would fly back Kuwaiti repatriates from Paris at 6:00 pm and another would come from London at 9:00 pm, it said.

A plane carrying Kuwaiti repatriates from London had touched down at Kuwait International Airport late on Saturday, while another plane carrying Kuwaiti nationals arrived from New York the same day. The flights were part of the state’s ‘air bridge’ operation to bring back home thousands of nationals stranded abroad due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on its official Twitter account.

The latest incoming flight was organized as part of phase one of the operation, carried out in coordination with the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, health, customs and fire departments as well as Kuwait Airways, DGCA explained. Kuwait International Airport received, on Friday, three planeloads of Kuwaiti returnees; one from Spain, the other from Britain and the third from Italy. Last Thursday, there were three flights; one from Germany, the other from Britain and another from Abu Dhabi, the UAE, a day after arrival of three planes from Lebanon, Egypt and Bahrain.

Phase one of the operation to bring back Kuwaiti citizens kicked off last Wednesday and was scheduled to end yesterday. The operation is being executed according to health conditions and terms, set by local authorities in Kuwait and the World Health Organization (WHO). Basically, such aircrafts are disinfected and the passengers must take prescribed health precautions from start to end of the flight. They are also examined to ensure they are free of symptoms of coronavirus. – KUNA