Kuwaiti authorities announced on Monday, April 20, that the suspension of work in the public sector, including all government ministries, will be extended until Sunday, May 31, to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, an ongoing nationwide curfew will be expanded to 16 hours from 16:00 to 08:00 (local time), and will take effect on the first day of Ramadan, which could fall on Thursday, April 24, depending on the sighting of a new crescent moon. The Civil Defense Committee has issued identification cards for those working in vital sectors. Earlier on Monday, April 6, Kuwaiti authorities placed the Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula areas of Kuwait City under full lockdown for two weeks. Expatriates who violate the curfew will face deportation while citizens will be referred to the relevant authorities for investigation. The Ministry of Interior advises residents to request the necessary permits online for all essential outings during the curfew.
According to local media reports, on Thursday, April 9, Kuwait's Council of Ministers announced 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.
Separately, expatriates whose residency cards have expired between Sunday, March 1, through Sunday, May 31, will be given three-month extensions. The extensions apply to those present in Kuwait exclusively. As of April 20, there are 1995 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, including nine deaths.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and week.
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.
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.