Kuwait suspends flights to and from Italy, Iraq, South Korea, several other countries from Feb. 24. Additional restrictions likely.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 25 Feb 2020 20:14 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Feb. 24
  • Impact: Entry restrictions; health screenings; likely increased immigration wait times

Summary
Kuwait authorities have implemented further travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Feb. 25. Authorities announced that they had suspended all flights with Singapore and Japan, as of Feb. 25, until further notice. The Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended all flights to and from Iran, Italy, Iraq, South Korea, and Thailand until further notice Feb. 24. The DGCA also stated that any non-Kuwaiti nationals having visited Italy, Iraq, South Korea, and Thailand in the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Kuwait, even with a valid visa. Kuwaiti nationals will be subject to additional health screenings and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period until officials can verify travelers are free of the disease. Authorities will also stop issuing visas for those coming from these countries.

The Kuwaiti Ports Authority (KPA) also banned entry to all Iraqi maritime vessels from the ports of Shuaiba, Shuwaikh, and Doha, Feb. 24, until further notice.

Preexisting travel restrictions, including the KPA suspending the movement of people to and from Iran via land ports, Kuwait Airways (KU) suspending all flights to Iran, and a mandatory quarantine period for all citizens returning from Tehran or Qom, remain in place. Additional air, maritime, and ground travel restrictions and screening measures are likely over the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The WHO has declared the ongoing outbreak of the virus to be a global health emergency. COVID-19 originated in China's Wuhan City, in Hubei Province, and has since spread to several countries across the globe.

As of Feb. 24, the Ministry of Health confirmed five cases of COVID-19; all infected individuals were evacuated from the Iranian city of Mashhad.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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