Kuwaiti authorities announced on Thursday, June 18, that the partial curfew will be shortened effective from Sunday, June 21, amid the further easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. The partial curfew will be in effect between 19:00 and 05:00 (local time) daily. The total lockdown in Hawally, Nuqra, Maidan Hawally, and some blocks in Khaitan, will also be lifted, although local lockdowns will continue in Farwaniya, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, and Mahboula.
On May 26, the government announced a five-phase plan to gradually return the country to normalcy, replacing a nationwide total lockdown with a 12-hour partial curfew. On Thursday, the government announced its plans to extend the first phase for an additional week. Public sector employees will not be allowed to return to work in offices on Sunday, due to a spike in COVID-19 infections among Kuwaiti citizens, with offices remaining shut for at least another week.
Kuwait's cabinet has also approved limited air travel for patients with critical health conditions as well as students studying abroad who may be missing exams, so long as precautionary measures are practiced. Additional allowances may be made to Kuwaiti citizens and residents, though the authorities will study requests on a case-by-case basis, and in all cases, travelers must be outside of the country for at least 30 days. Individuals permitted to travel will be required to conduct a COVID-19 test at their own expense, at least four days before their departure. A certificate will need to be provided in Arabic to airport authorities.
Face masks remain mandatory to be worn by all individuals in public; those found to be violating this will be subject to a fine of 5000KD or three months imprisonment.
Expatriates whose residency cards expired between March 1 and May 31 have been granted three-month extensions to allow them to remain in the country. However, the government has announced plans to deport expatriates found to be in breach of COVID-19 measures.
As of Friday, June 19, there are 38,074 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kuwait and 308 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in 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) 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.
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