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Kuwait warns of tougher restrictions if Covid-19 precautionary measures are not followed

Kuwait warns of tougher restrictions if Covid-19 precautionary measures are not followed

Health clubs, salons, barbershops, celebration halls and tents are already closed in the country

Kuwait health minister

Kuwait’s health minister Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Sabah has warned of tougher restrictions in the country if people fail to adhere to the Covid-19 precautionary measures currently in place.

The warning comes amidst a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country in recent weeks.

In remarks made at a National Assembly special session on Tuesday, Al-Sabah said that the number of hospitalised cases at public hospitals has reached 585, while the intensive care now has 138 cases.

He stressed on the public to wear masks, maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings, official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported. Al-Sabah also urged everyone to take the Covid-19 vaccine to curb the spread of the virus.

Al-Sabah also denied that expatriates were the main cause for the spread of the virus. “It’s untrue that expats are the ones who transfer the infection. Only very few cases come from abroad. Infection is widespread among citizens, who account for 60 per cent of the cases, and expats 40 per cent, many of them domestic helpers,” he said.

“We are now at the fourth stage of restoration of normal life, with the transfer of two activities from fifth stage (to fourth one), which are salons and health clubs, for social and economic reasons, where the situation at that time allowed them to be transferred to the fourth stage,” he said.

Kuwait announced a slew of new restrictions earlier this month.

Health clubs, salons, barbershops, celebration halls and tents were ordered to close, while officials also banned all types of gatherings, including for national holiday celebrations later this month.

Commercial shops and restaurants – including malls – have to stay closed from 8pm to 5am, although delivery services can continue. Pharmacies and food stores are exempt from the ban.

All sports events have also been suspended.

The restrictions are in place for one month starting February 7, subject to re-evaluation.

Read: Kuwait suspends entry of foreigners for two weeks, imposes restrictions on malls, shops

The country also imposed a two-week ban on the entry of foreigners into the country from February 7, with only close relatives of Kuwaiti citizens and domestic workers exempt from the decision.

Starting Sunday, February 21, it is re-introducing a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine for all incoming passengers.

Read: Mandatory hotel quarantine in Kuwait for all incoming passengers to begin next week

On Tuesday, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah acknowledged that the damage caused to small business owners due to the restrictions was “painful” but he added that the Covid-19 situation was causing greater concern.

“We must pause and examine this matter and adhere to what needs to be done. Yes, we suffer from the damage of small and medium businesses, and we suffer from the damage to our children’s educational achievements, and we suffer when athletes do not practice their activities, but the biggest pain is when we see the situation continues to rise,” KUNA quoted him as saying.

“With cooperation, solidarity, understanding, acceptance and implementation, yes, we went through losses, but we passed the stage of ascension, then stabilised, and now we have a second wave.

“If we do not cooperate, stand together and understand what is required to do, the situation will be difficult for everyone, the whole world has been affected and we must deal with reality,” he added.

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