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Kuwait Imposes Partial Curfew Nationwide over Coronavirus

Kuwait Imposes Partial Curfew Nationwide over Coronavirus

Sunday, 22 March, 2020 - 06:00
A family wear protective face masks, as they arrive at a makehsift coronavirus testing center at the Mishref Fair Grounds in Kuwait city, Kuwait March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Kuwait will impose a nationwide curfew starting on Sunday from 5 pm until 4 am to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, state news agency KUNA said, citing the cabinet.

Kuwait, which went into virtual lockdown on Thursday, has taken some of the most drastic steps in the region to curb the virus’ spread. The health ministry reported that 12 patients have recovered from the disease in the past three days, bringing the total to 30.

The Gulf country, which has reported 188 cases of the virus, said violators of the curfew could face up to three years in jail or fines of up to 10,000 dinars ($32,157). The Kuwait National Guard will aid police in imposing the curfew.

The decision was made due to “some manifestations of non-compliance with precautionary measures,” Deputy Prime Minister Anas al-Saleh said, according to KUNA.

Kuwait’s cabinet also decided to extend a suspension of government and private agencies for two weeks.

It had already announced on Thursday an extension to a suspension of schools and universities until Aug. 4 - the first among its neighbors to impose such lengthy education closures to limit the spread of the sometimes deadly disease.

After a late-night cabinet meeting on Saturday, the minister of trade and industry said the country’s strategic food reserves were “secure and plentiful”, KUNA said. He urged people not to stockpile food and said there was no need to panic.

Last week, the cabinet approved a bill to increase the budget of ministries and governmental departments by 500 million dinars for the 2020/21 fiscal year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It also established a temporary fund for receiving financial contributions from institutions, companies, and individuals to support the government’s efforts to fight the virus.

Oman, meanwhile, banned public gatherings in the country, limited staffing at state entities and shut currency exchange bureaus as part of measures to fight the coronavirus.

Authorities in the sultanate also asked the private sector to facilitate remote working and urged commercial businesses and individuals to limit cash transactions, state television reported.

The country reported three new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the total to 55. Seventeen patients have recovered.

Bahrain reported a second death on Sunday, a citizen evacuated from Iran, taking the Gulf Cooperation Council's total to four.

Bahrain ordered all stores except those supplying essential goods to shut.

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