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Amir orders financial support for citizens

Death sought for disease spreaders; crisis seen to remain for 2 months

His Highness Amir chairs the ministerial council extraordinary session

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has issued instructions to support Kuwaiti citizens financially to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on them, the National Assembly speaker said yesterday.

Marzouq Al-Ghanem wrote on Twitter after attending a key Cabinet meeting chaired by the Amir that “this requires a number of decisions to be issued” by the government.

In the meantime, the Assembly’s health committee has demanded the death penalty for people who deliberately transmit contagious diseases like coronavirus to others that result in the death of at least one person.

Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah told the Cabinet meeting yesterday that it is expected the coronavirus crisis will continue until it peaks after two months, and then will stabilize and begin to decline.

He said Kuwait has enough stocks of the medicines said to cure coronavirus cases.

The Assembly speaker said that the Amir stressed that fighting the spread of the virus should go hand in hand in taking care of its economic consequences, urging concerned authorities to take the necessary measures to support the national economy and take speedy actions, especially to back small enterprises to prevent their collapse.

He said the Amir gave instructions that the government should prepare an economic support plan related to the crisis within one week.

Ghanem said the Amir also issued directives regarding various other issues including the composition of the population and others.

The Amir also issued directives to pardon a number of prisoners in accordance with specific parameters.

The Assembly will hold an emergency session today (Tuesday) to debate two draft laws related to the current situation, one relates to filing of court cases and petitions while the other seeks to toughen penalties against health violators.

The government submitted the second draft law seeking to increase the penalties for violators of health orders by amending an old law issued some half a century ago. The government called for up to five years in jail and up to KD 50,000 in fine for those who deliberately transmit contagious diseases to others.

But the Assembly’s health committee proposed to make the penalties much harsher.

It proposed that if infected people deliberately transmit contagious disease to others, they will be jailed for between six months and five years and fined between KD 20,000 and 50,000.

The penalty is doubled if the person infects more than three people and it becomes a life term or death if one of the infected people dies as a result.

Meanwhile, only one new coronavirus case was reported yesterday, raising the number to 189.

As a partial nightly curfew entered its second day, police arrested a number of violators and handed them over to police stations for interrogation.

The interior ministry has also created an online application for those wishing to get a permit to break the curfew for something extremely urgent. Police will arrest these people if their reason is found to be false.

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