KUWAIT: The cabinet decided on Friday to impose a total lockdown in the country for three weeks starting on Sunday until May 30 after a steep rise in the number of coronavirus cases, government spokesman Tareq Al-Mazrem announced.
The decision was made during an extraordinary meeting held by the cabinet on Friday to assess the health situations in the country, Mazrem said.
Mazrem said the lockdown was decided based on recommendations by the health authorities and will start at 4 pm on Sunday and end on May 30, which means the remaining two weeks of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr holidays are included.
Mazrem said the council of ministers assigned the interior minister to “implement the total curfew in the country and that employees of vital installations will be allowed to leave home”.
He said the cabinet also decided to suspend the work of the private sector and suspended the delivery services except for cooperative societies and pharmacies.
The cabinet said that people are allowed to exercise walking between 4.30 to 6.30 pm daily but are not allowed to drive. The cabinet also decided to form a main emergency team in each governorate.
Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh told a press conference the lockdown is the final stage of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that life will begin returning to normal after the lockdown ends on May 30.
He said that employees at vital installations like electricity, oil and municipality in addition to employees at private firms assisting them will be allowed to continue operations during the lockdown to ensure the continuity of essential services.
Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah called on all to cooperate with the lockdown to ensure its success, adding that it was imposed after the return of over 29,000 citizens from abroad.
He said that the number of infections among citizens began to rise after April 22 with the start of an airlift to bring citizens back home.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan called on the public not to panic because food supplies and storage are sufficient for a very long time, adding that coronavirus is a health crisis and “we will not allow it to become a food crisis”.
He urged the public not to stockpile food stuff because it is available in good quantities.
The ministry has launched online reservation to purchase essentials from the cooperative societies and supermarkets and each one will be allowed to go once every six days.
Minister of State for Municipality Affairs Waleed Al-Jassem said that private supermarkets and groceries will remain open in various areas.
The health ministry reported on Friday 641 new coronavirus cases, the largest tally on a single day in addition to three deaths, including a 62-year old Egyptian doctor, Tareq Hussein Mukhaimer, the first physician to die in the country because of the deadly virus.
Of the new cases reported Friday, 160 were for Indians, 157 for Kuwaiti and 122 for Egyptians and the rest for several nationalities.
According to statistics, in March there were 300 cases which rose to 4,000 cases in April but surged to 3,200 cases in the first eight days of May. In addition, there was a steep rise in cases among Kuwaiti citizens recording 655 cases in the first eight days of May.