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10 Apr 2020 | 10:45 AM UTC

Kuwait: Government to allow commercial passenger flights to resume according to statement on April 9 /update 12

Government to allow commercial passenger flights to resume to repatriate non-citizens according to statement on April 9; further details still emerging

entry/exit
health
transportation
KWT

Event

According to local media reports, on Thursday, April 9, Kuwait's Council of Ministers released a statement saying that commercial passenger flights for all airlines will be allowed to resume in order to repatriate non-residents currently in Kuwait who wish to return to their home countries. All commercial flights to and from the country, with the exception of cargo flights, have been suspended since Friday, March 13, to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Further details, such as when flights are set to resume, have not yet been announced.

On Monday, April 6, Kuwaiti authorities placed the Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula areas of Kuwait City on full lockdown for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19. Both areas are densely populated with low-income expatriate workers. The country also extended partial curfew orders by two hours such that the partial curfew will be in effect from 17:00 to 06:00 (local time), effective Monday until further notice. The Civil Defense Committee has been instructed to issue identification cards for individuals working in vital sectors to ensure they can move about during the curfew. Additionally, work has been suspended across ministries and government institutions from Sunday, April 12, until Sunday, April 26, as a precaution to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Previously, on Saturday, April 4, Kuwaiti health authorities announced the country's first COVID-19 death amid the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the Ministry of Health announced a widespread sanitization campaign as part of a nationwide effort to combat the spread of the disease. The campaign is expected to cover all areas of the capital and other provinces throughout the country. Hundreds of businesses have been closed as part of preventative measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, April 2, Kuwaiti officials announced stricter sanctions for those who violate the ongoing curfew. Expatriates who violate the curfew will face deportation while citizens will be referred to the relevant authorities for investigation. Previous announcements have threatened fines or imprisonment for up to three years. The Ministry of Interior advises residents to request the necessary permits online for all essential outings during the curfew.

As of April 6, more than 990 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Kuwait, as well as one associated death. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and week.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.