Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Kuwait extend closure of government institutions through May 31 and expand existing curfew hours due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Kuwait

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 19:49 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 31
  • Impact: Increased security, travel and business disruptions

Summary
Kuwaiti authorities extended the closure of government institutions and private agencies through the end of May as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities also expanded the nationwide curfew to 16 hours per day from 1600 to 0800. The new curfew hours will supersede the previous curfew hours of 1700-0600 and will enter into effect on the first day of Ramadan, which will begin April 23 or 24, depending on the first sighting of the lunar crescent.

Authorities previously imposed a full lockdown on Mahboula district in Ahmadi Governorate and Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh town in Farwaniyah Governorate from April 6 for a period of at least two weeks.

Individuals who are found in violation of the orders could face jail terms of up to three years and fines. The move follows an earlier indefinite suspension of all commercial flights to and from Kuwait effective March 13. Flight arrivals will be limited to Kuwaiti nationals and cargo planes. Cargo flights will remain operational.

Schools and universities will remain closed until Aug. 4. Authorities have also banned Kuwaiti citizens from meeting in restaurants, cafes, and commercial centers. Additional preventive restrictions and travel restrictions remain likely, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

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.

Advice
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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int