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Repatriation of thousands of Kuwaitis begins

MPs urge pension agency to delay repayment

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Kuwait has begun the repatriation of thousands of nationals stranded abroad due to coronavirus restrictions, with the first chartered flight expected to have arrived yesterday.

The repatriation will continue until Sunday and will include flights from the United States, Britain, France, Italy and a number of Arab countries where some 60,000 citizens are living, who were barred from returning because of the halt  of flights and the lack of enough quarantine sites.

The first flights were to arrive from the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. A chartered flight will be operated on Friday to bring back Kuwaitis from Italy.

The health ministry said all arriving passengers will be sent to quarantine for at least 14 days, during which they will be subjected to coronavirus tests.

The health ministry announced yesterday four new cases of the coronavirus, raising the number to 195, while the health ministry said four more cases had recovered, bringing the number of cured cases to 43. At present, 153 cases are receiving treatment, of whom six are in the intensive care unit, two of whom are in critical condition, according to health ministry spokesman Abdullah Al-Sanad.

The new cases belong to a Kuwaiti returning from Britain, a Kuwaiti who had returned from Saudi Arabia, a Filipina and a Bangladeshi – the ministry is still investigating the source of their infection. Over 700 people have been discharged from quarantines.

The government meanwhile established a special coronavirus fund to receive donations from private sector establishments to assist in the fight against the deadly disease. Donors have already pledged over KD 10 million to the fund.

Local banks have decided to defer the payment of installments for various types of loans for six months of Kuwaiti debtors. Kuwait Petroleum Corp has also decided to delay payment of loan installments of its employees for six months.

MPs yesterday urged the public pension agency to follow the same step and delay the payment of installments for six months. MP Ali Al-Deqbasi demanded that the agency forgive the loans given to pensioners.

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