Kuwait now in near lockdown due to pandemic

Published:  12 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, South Africa
Kuwaitis and the emirate’s huge expat community are now in a state of near lockdown as new measures against the pandemic are introduced.

Harsh new coronavirus measures were announced yesterday, aimed at holding back the spreading virus infections and deaths. Commercial passenger flights are now banned, although cargo flights will be allowed to continue, and a public holiday will begin today and last until March 26. Residents and expats are now forbidden to gather in malls, restaurants and cafes and the majority of banks will remain closed until the 26th with the exception of one for each governorate.

All expatriates who returned to the emirate from February 27th will face mandatory testing for the virus, and wedding halls, health clubs, gyms and sports venues will be closed. At present, the government doesn’t see the need for a curfew but one MP is calling for marginal expat workers to be repatriated. For Kuwaitis stranded overseas, flights will be arranged, and new testing centres have been established at the international fairground site.

As the details of the new restrictions became public knowledge, panicking residents rushed to markets, bakeries, co-op societies and petrol stations in fear of not being able to buy much-needed supplies or fuel. Imports of essentials will be allowed in, thus preventing shortages of food or health products, and the previous ban on new visas is set to continue with the exception of diplomatic staff. Shoppers ignored the call for calm, buying up baby foods and supplies, wholesale meat and vegetables and frozen meat. Price gouging due to the situation will not be allowed, and co-ops will be allowed to stay open 24/7.
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