KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti government decided to tighten controls on flights to and from countries hit by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks. During its emergency meeting, held at Al-Seif Palace on Friday night under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the Cabinet reviewed the measures adopted to stem the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety of public health.
His Highness the Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet members on the efforts to provide the competent authorities with all resources necessary for protecting the safety of the health of citizens and expatriates in Kuwait, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh following the meeting.
Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Humoud Al-Sabah, who leads the interagency taskforce on COVID-19, briefed the meeting on latest figures of global outbreak of the epidemic and the related reports on its impact worldwide. The Cabinet members appreciated the selfless efforts being made by the frontline medical workers who pursue their humanitarian mission restlessly. They reviewed the precautions relating to the airlines working in the country adopted since the emergence of the epidemic in January, including the suspension of flights to and from China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Thailand, Italy, Singapore, Japan and Iraq.
In light of the Cabinet decree, adopted on Thursday, March 5, regarding the safety of foreign communities in Kuwait from the virus, they decided to suspend for one week all flights to and from Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. All arrivals in Kuwait from any other nationality or via airports other than those of the above-mentioned countries will be denied entry if they travelled to these countries in the last couple of weeks even if they have valid residency or visas.
Only Kuwaiti nationals living in those countries will be allowed in after undergoing the necessary quarantine measures, according to tonight’s decree. The Cabinet stressed that the new measures are meant to protect the safety of the health of the citizens and expatriate residents in Kuwait, asking everybody to understand the urgency of these measures.
Earlier on Friday, Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem expressed confidence in the government’s keenness on making decisions that preserve the health and safety of citizens. Ghanem, in a series of posts on Twitter, called on the government to “take decisions that protect the country’s health security in their emergency meeting.” He stressed that the health and safety of citizens in Kuwait is above any other considerations, urging the Cabinet to take decisions that protect the health security of the country.
“I spoke to His Highness the Prime Minister, and I am confident that they are (the ministers) keen to take decisions that preserve the health and safety of citizens,” he added. Ghanem called for holding a press conference at the ministerial level to clarify some of the issues that were marred by ambiguity for the citizens in all transparency and clarity. He expressed thanks, appreciation and support for all national cadres working in all the concerned authorities.
The Kuwaiti Health Ministry had announced yesterday the discovery of three new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the previous 24 hours. Health Ministry spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad indicated that all of the previously announced cases were in compulsory quarantine, adding that all of them have recently returned from Iran. The number of those infected with the virus reached 61 with one case of recovery thus far. On Friday, the ministry said that no new COVID-19 were recorded in the previous 24 hours. – KUNA