Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Authorities in Kuwait to end 24-hour curfew and introduce curfew hours of 1800-0600 beginning May 31 amid easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
This alert affects Kuwait
This alert began 28 May 2020 21:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Increased security, travel and business disruptions
Authorities in Kuwait plan to end the existing 24-hour curfew in most of the country and replace it with a nightly 1800-0600 curfew beginning May 31. The 24-hour curfew will remain in force in Meedan Hawally, Khaitan, Farwaniya, Jaleeb Al-Shukoukh, and Maboula until further notice. The measure comes amid authorities' efforts to ease restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and is the first step in a five-phase plan. Foreign nationals who need to leave their homes in the event of an emergency must first obtain a permit from authorities.
Other measures taken by the government of Kuwait include:
- Protective face coverings must be worn in public. Violators may face fines or imprisonment of up to three months.
- Public sector employees are required to work remotely.
- Banks are closed; however, electronic services remain available.
- Grocery stores are open; however, residents have to book an appointment in advance, and only one person per family is permitted to shop. Home delivery services are permitted for food and medical supplies.
- Residents can engage in outdoor fitness activities in residential neighborhoods between the hours of 1630-1830 daily but must comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Workers employed in essential sectors, such as health, security, and construction, are exempt from the curfew.
- A previously imposed closure of nonessential government institutions and private agencies remains in effect through May 28.
- All commercial flights to and from Kuwait remain indefinitely suspended since March 13. International arrivals are limited to Kuwaiti nationals and cargo planes.
- Schools and universities will remain closed until Aug. 4.
- Authorities have also banned Kuwaiti citizens from meeting in restaurants, cafes, and commercial centers through at least May 30.
Background and Analysis
Kuwait's restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.