Kuwaiti authorities announced that an overnight curfew will come into effect on Sunday, March 22, until further notice to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As such, all movement will be restricted between 17:00 and 04:00 (local time). The Civil Defense Committee will reportedly issue identification cards for individuals working in vital sectors to ensure they can move about during the curfew. Those in violation of the curfew may be fined or imprisoned for up to three years.
Other containment measures remain in place as of Sunday. All commercial flights to and from the country, with the exception of cargo flights, are indefinitely suspended. Flight arrivals at Kuwait International Airport (KWI) are restricted to Kuwaitis and their "first degree relatives." The government has also temporarily banned all gatherings at restaurants, cafes, and commercial centers.
To date, there are over 170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
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) characterized the virus as a "pandemic."
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.
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 non-essential 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 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.