KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs the Cabinet’s meeting yesterday. – KUNA

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The council of ministers imposed a 12-hour nightly curfew from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am for one month starting on March 7 as the number of coronavirus cases has increased sharply with the health ministry recording a record high number yesterday.
At an extraordinary meeting yesterday, the council of ministers also extended a ban on the entry of foreigners into Kuwait “until a further notice,” government spokesman Tareq Al-Mazrem said yesterday.

The council of ministers meanwhile allowed salons and health clubs to reopen during the day after a one-month closure but kept restaurants and cafes closed except for drive-through and delivery services. The cabinet also ordered all parks and public gardens closed in addition to shutting all public seating places. It allowed taxis to carry only two passengers.

During the curfew period, the cabinet allowed people to go to Fajr, Maghreb and Isha prayers at mosques only by walking. During the curfew hours, pharmacies, medical stores, cooperative societies and supermarkets to continue operation only through delivery services.

The health ministry yesterday reported 1,716 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily haul so far, in addition to eight deaths. Kuwait reported 7,949 cases in December, which rose to 14,673 cases in January and jumped to 25,595 cases in February, according to official figures. The ministry of health reported as many as 5,645 new cases just in the first four days of March. In the past week, the number of cases rose by 30 percent to 8,473 cases over the previous month.

Mazrem called on the public to comply more firmly with health conditions and said that during the day, people should leave homes only when necessary. The cabinet statement said that the partial lockdown will be evaluated at the end of the one month period, hinting at a possible extension.

Asked if the sharp increase in the number of cases was because of the discovery of a new strain, Mazrem said that health authorities have reported a new strain but did not explain. The council of ministers asked the interior ministry to implement the curfew and assigned the national guard forces to assist.