KUWAIT: Kuwait government decided Monday to extend a holiday that was supposed to end this week until April 23 as part of the country’s efforts to curb spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), while taking legal action against sponsors abusing workers. The government decided to extend the holiday until April 23 and work will resume on Sunday, April 26, spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrem told an online news conference following a cabinet meeting chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
Mezrem said the cabinet assigned Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh to form a team tasked with taking legal actions against sponsors who fake workforce, as well as taking appropriate measures to prevent abuse of workers.
Meanwhile, a cabinet statement said it assigned the ministerial economic committee and an executive committee to meet with the National Assembly’s office to discuss the public debt draft law amidst huge change in domestic and external spending due to the coronavirus. The cabinet also approved a Ministry of Health’s (MoH) request to recruit specialized medical teams from abroad to provide support for front-line workers. It also assigned relevant authorities to extend contracts of workers in services, maintenance, cleaning and operations.
The government had also decided to extend a partial curfew by two hours as of Monday to be between 5:00 pm and 6:00 am, as well as imposing a lockdown on the areas of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. Minister Saleh told an online news conference that the extension of the curfew would be effective as of Monday. Saleh also said the government believed it would be useful to have gradual extension of the curfew in order to allow people leave their houses but only when necessary. He urged the public anew to stay indoors even when the curfew ended.
Saleh also said the government decided to impose a complete lockdown on Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Areas for two weeks. He said the lockdown, to start Monday, would enable the health workers carry out tests of inhabitants in the two areas for their own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of the public in general. Saleh thanked the citizens and expatriates for displaying responsible commitment to the health authorities’ instructions which aimed at preserving their safety.
Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, addressing the same news conference, said health authorities were in the process of containment and to know who was the sources of the virus, as well as containing the sick persons. He urged people anew to wash their hands, stay indoors, avoid gatherings and be aware of social distancing. “Kuwait is witnessing the most important and critical phase in its fight against coronavirus which is containment,” Sheikh Basel said, but hoped to overcome this stage with best results.
To contain the virus “we should know the surrounding of infection and those causing the cases and their spread, in addition to isolation and treatment of people who came into close contact with already-infected persons with the aim of preventing spread of the virus,” Sheikh Basel added. He said Kuwait underwent preventive measures “which will help us a lot in dealing with the current and future phases.”
The measures over the past weeks, he added, aimed at slowing the spread of the virus “not minimizing number of infections.” The government measures are “not mere reactions” but based on extensive meetings that started in January and are in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), said the minister. Sheikh Basel meanwhile said repatriation of Kuwaitis was undergoing constant review. “I urge all to be patient for the sake of public safety,” he said, and hopefully “you will be reunited with your loved ones.” – KUNA