Kuwait tightens Covid-19 measures amid record cases

Government has decided against closures but ordered reduction of staff attendance to 50 per cent

Passengers at Kuwait international airport in Kuwait City. The government said there were no plans to close the country's main airport or impose a curfew. Photo: EPA

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Kuwait’s Cabinet has announced new Covid-19 restrictions after the country experienced a surge in coronavirus infections in recent days.

Authorities reported a record high of 3,683 new Covid-19 cases on Monday.

While the Cabinet decided against any closures, it said it will cut staff attendance at government institutions to 50 per cent of capacity in response to the sharp increase in cases in the country, driven by the Omicron variant.

Private sector employers have been told to “reduce the number of employees in offices to the least necessary to carry out work".

Kuwaiti government spokesman Tareq Al Mazrem said there were no plans to close the country's main airport or impose a curfew, two extreme measures the country has taken in the past to curb the coronavirus spread.

The Cabinet met online on Monday to discuss and approve the measures after the country’s health minister tested positive for Covid-19 late last week.

Conferences, meetings and training courses can only be held online starting from Wednesday. Passengers on public transport must not exceed 50 per cent of capacity and they must follow social distancing rules and wear face masks.

People arrive to obtain booster Covid-19 vaccine doses at a vaccination centre in Kuwait City. Photo: EPA

The decisions that will take effect on Wednesday include requiring spectators at sports events to be fully vaccinated. Only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to visit salons, barbershops and health clubs.

Appointments at government offices and ministries should be made using an online app for people seeking services.

The Cabinet decided last week to temporarily stop holding social events of all kinds in closed places, with the Kuwaiti interior ministry warning that it will break up all gatherings and events and will take organisers to court, with potential punishments including jail time and fines.

Kuwait last week told its citizens in the UK to return home because of a “significant and unprecedented” rise in coronavirus cases there. Kuwait's embassies in Italy, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and France had also issued similar advice, according to the Kuwait News Agency.

Kuwaiti citizens and residents were also cautioned to restrict travelling abroad to emergency cases only and called on those coming from abroad to abide by the health quarantine regulations and avoid contacting others until quarantine ends.

The country has begun to offer a third, or booster, dose of the coronavirus vaccine free of charge to people over the age of 50, without the need to make an appointment first.

Updated: January 11th 2022, 11:19 AM