KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait will enact a “total curfew” from 4pm (1300 GMT) on Sunday through to May 30 to help to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, its cabinet said in a statement on Friday.
During the curfew, public sectors will work remotely and private sector activities, excluding vital ones, will be suspended, the statement said. All banks will be closed, but will continue to provide services electronically.
Essential sectors like health, security, electricity, oil and municipal services, as well as private sector companies providing vital services like maintenance will be exempt from the curfew, interior minister Anas al-Saleh said in a televised news conference later on Friday.
Kuwait on April 20 expanded a nationwide curfew to 16 hours a day, from 4pm to 8am, and extended a suspension of work in the public sector, including government ministries, until May 31.
“Anything that serves the citizens and expatriates at their homes and meets their needs will have all the possibilities to continue their operations,” said Kuwait’s minister of trade and industry, Khaled Al-Rawdan.
“After the curfew, we hope there will be a gradual comeback,” he added.
Cooperatives and grocery stores will remain open during the curfew. People will have to book an appointment in advance and one person from each family will be allowed out for shopping.
People will be required to wear protective masks and will be able to go out for walks between 4:30 and 6:30 pm without using any vehicles.
In addition, print newspapers will be suspended and home deliveries will be allowed only for essential food and pharmaceutical supplies.
On Friday the Gulf state announced 641 new coronavirus cases and three deaths, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 7,208, with 47 deaths.
The number of cases in the six Gulf Arab states has risen steadily to almost 86,000, with 486 deaths, despite containment measures including curfews, the grounding of passenger flights and the closure of most public venues.
The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia exceeded 35,000 on Friday.
Reporting by Ahmed Haggagy in Kuwait and Ahmed Tolba and Hesham Abdul Khalek in Cairo; Writing by Lisa Barrington and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Alison Williams, David Goodman and Bill Berkrot
Image: FILE PHOTO: Repatriated Kuwaitis from Amman, wearing protective face masks and suits, are seen after arriving at the Kuwait Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kuwait City, Kuwait April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee