Authorities continue to maintain restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kuwait as of Oct. 30. Kuwaiti nationals and residents are permitted to fly into and out of the country. Travelers must obtain a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, conducted no more than 96-hours before their departure. Travelers will not be permitted entry to Kuwait if, in the preceding 14 days, they have been in a country Kuwait considers high risk for COVID-19. Upon arrival, all travelers are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine and must provide proof of insurance with COVID-19 coverage. Travelers must also download and register with the "Shlonik" application before traveling.
Other measures taken by the government of Kuwait include:
- Authorities are not issuing visitor visas upon arrival at the airport. Visas are also not available electronically in advance. All entry visas must first be approved by Kuwait's Corona Emergency Ministerial Committee.
- Public- and private-sector workplaces are operating at 50-percent capacity.
- Several recreational activities have resumed operations, albeit with stringent public health precautions in place.
- Large gatherings, including weddings, banquets, and funerals, remain prohibited.
- Protective face coverings must be worn in public. Violators may face fines or imprisonment of up to three months.
- Kuwaiti seaports have been prohibited from receiving foreign vessels arriving from or departing to several foreign countries, including mainland China, Hong Kong, and Iran.
- Schools and universities are planning for virtual learning throughout the fall.
- The land border with Iraq is closed until further notice.
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.