Coronavirus: Kuwait's emir praises country's response to outbreak

Sheikh Sabah stresses it was time to expand solidarity to combat the global health crisis

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Kuwait's ruler has praised the country's response to the coronavirus outbreak as one of the best in the Middle East.

The country was one of the first in the region to impose strict measures in a bid to contain the outbreak. The country has 188 cases, of which there have been no deaths and 30 recoveries.

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said it was time to expand solidarity in a bid to combat this global health crisis.

"I have been following up with great pleasure on the sequence of steps, as well as bold and decisive measures, taken by the government bodies to counter the pandemic," he said in a televised statement.

He praised government officials and said he had directed the country's prime minister to take measures to ensure the continued safety of the Kuwaiti people, as well as foreign residents.

The Kuwaiti ruler said he had ordered state bodies to contact Kuwaiti citizens abroad to ensure they remain safe and can make their way back to the country safely as travel restrictions continue to be imposed across the world.

He said Kuwait would overcome the crisis through unity, solidarity and sacrifice, calling for patience during the crisis.

Kuwait has imposed a nationwide curfew starting on March 22 from 5pm to 4am local time. Those who break the curfew could face up to three years in jail and fines of KD 10,000 the interior minister confirmed.

The country, which went into virtual lockdown on Thursday, has taken some of the most drastic steps in the region to curb the coronavirus’s spread.

On March 13, Kuwait stopped all travel except cargo flights from the country until further notice.

The country declared a public holiday from March 12 to March 26 except for entities providing essential services.

It banned people from going to restaurants and cafes and asked them to no longer hold Kuwait’s traditional diwaniya private and public gatherings, state news agency KUNA said.

The Kuwaiti Cabinet has extended the suspension of all public and private schools as well as higher education institutions until August 4.

Kuwait has also initiated legal proceedings against people spreading fake news and rumours in relation to coronavirus, the country’s minister of interior said on March 18.