On Saturday, April 4, Kuwaiti health authorities announced the country's first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fatality amid the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the Ministry of Health has 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.
Authorities announced that the overnight curfew, which began on Sunday, March 22, will remain in place until further notice. All movement is 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.
As of April 4, Kuwait has recorded 479 cases of COVID-19, 62 of which were recorded in the previous 24 hours. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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 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.