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Kuwaiti MPs urge the government to relax Covid-19 restrictions or compensate businesses

Kuwaiti MPs urge the government to relax Covid-19 restrictions or compensate businesses

Health clubs, salons and barbershops have been closed for a month, while malls and shops need to stay shut from 8pm until 5am

Kuwaiti lawmakers have urged the government to relax some of the new Covid-19 restrictions – especially the closure of some businesses – or compensate all those affected.

The country announced last week that starting Sunday, February 7, all commercial shops and restaurants – including malls – will have to stay closed from 8pm to 5am, although delivery services can continue. Meanwhile health clubs, salons, barbershops, celebration halls and tents have been ordered to close. Officials have also banned all types of gatherings, including for national holiday celebrations later this month. All sports events have also been suspended.

The new measures are being imposed to curb the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country in recent weeks.

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

But several small businesses, including salons, have lashed out against the regulations, with some lawmakers also supporting their cause.

Kuwait’s National Assembly speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem told small businesses that he had “carried their voice” to the highest level and that directives have been issued to find suitable solutions for local businesses, local daily Kuwait Times reported.

He said he also held talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, who “is working to find a way to implement the decisions and still reduce the sufferings of small businesses”.

A group of lawmakers also submitted a motion to hold a special session on a proposed economic package to assist businesses and to debate the issue of the ‘population imbalance’ in the country, the daily reported.

Another MP submitted a draft law calling on the government to pay the rent of affected businesses and the salaries of their employees during throughout closure.

However, the interior ministry has stressed that it will go ahead with the new restrictions as planned.

Kuwait reported 962 new cases on Sunday, with the total number of infections reported in the country reaching 170,998.

A total of 8,494 patients remain under treatment.

The coronavirus death toll stands at 966, with total recoveries now at 161,538.

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