KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday reported 768 new coronavirus cases and five COVID-related deaths, taking the total cases up to 184,090 and deaths to 1,044. The Ministry of Health also reported that 967 more people have been cured of the virus, raising the total of those to have overcome the disease to 172,227.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus stood yesterday at 10,819, with 147 of them in intensive care units, ministry spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad told a press conference. He added that some 6,006 swab tests were conducted over the same period, bringing the total up to 1,731,704. He went on to urge the public to abide by health precautions, mainly social distancing, to help curb the spread of the virus.

This comes while a local daily reported that the coronavirus ministerial emergency committee was scheduled to hold a meeting yesterday in the presence of concerned authorities to prepare a report for the Cabinet’s meeting today or Wednesday to take a decision with regards to a curfew before the start of national celebrations. Concerted authorities have already heightened their readiness to implement a partial or total curfew, Al-Qabas Arabic newspaper reported.

Government sources said health authorities spent the weekend in intense meetings that included the interior and information ministries, Kuwait National Guard, Kuwait Fire Force and Directorate General of Civil Aviation among others to discuss means of strict implementation of the curfew to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of 80 persons in only 20 days.

The sources said each side presented its plans and what it can do to make people comply with the law, in addition to securing food and medicine reserves, as well as the mechanism of entering co-ops and markets during the curfew. Meanwhile, security sources said around 2,500 policemen will enforce the curfew in case the Cabinet decides to approve it, adding that gatherings will not be allowed. Policemen have strict orders to break up any gathering and apply legal action without exceptions.

Kuwait International Airport was supposed to welcome travelers under strict health restrictions, but the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had on Saturday extended a ban on entry of non-Kuwaiti travelers to the country until further notice. The government slapped the entry ban on expatriates two weeks ago and was supposed to expire on February 21.

“Based on instructions by the health authorities, it has been decided to extend indefinitely the decision to ban the entry of non-Kuwaiti passengers into Kuwait,” said an announcement by the Civil Aviation posted on its twitter account. It added no further details.

It however said that the arrival of Kuwaiti passengers will continue provided they have to undergo a seven-day quarantine at hotels and another seven days at home. The Civil Aviation announced a few days ago details on how non-Kuwaiti passengers will be able to enter Kuwait from all over the world starting from February 21.

The announcement said that people coming from previously restricted countries will be quarantined at local hotels for 14 days while passengers arriving from other countries will be quarantined at local hotels for seven days and another seven days at home.