Coronavirus: Kuwaiti emir assures nation that world will overcome the crisis

Sheikh Sabah encouraged the public to follow strict guidelines set by the government

FILE - In this March 31, 2019 file photo, Kuwait's ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, attends the opening of the 30th Arab Summit, in Tunis, Tunisia. Kuwait said Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, that its 90-year-old ruling emir Sheikh Sabah has been admitted to a U.S. hospital after an earlier health scare and will cancel an upcoming visit Thursday with President Donald Trump. (Fethi Belaid/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Kuwait's ruler said on Friday that the world will overcome the novel coronavirus that has infected five million people worldwide and killed hundreds of thousands.

The country was one of the first in the region to impose strict measures in a bid to contain the outbreak. It has 19,564 cases and 138 fatalities.

“We are confident that the coronavirus pandemic will be defeated,” Sheikh Sabah said in a televised speech to the nation.

Sheikh Sabah praised the country's response to the coronavirus outbreak and thanked health workers for their efforts.

“We look forward to returning to life as it was before the outbreak of the virus,” he said.

The Kuwaiti ruler urged authorities to adopt a new approach to meet the serious challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We must take a new approach that redefines Kuwait’s future and our lifestyle, that aims to correct our paths through effective steps to meet the requirements of this challenge,” he said.

Sheikh Sabah encouraged the public to follow the strict guidelines set by the government to curb the virus.

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.

Sheikh Sabah encouraged the public to “invoke the spirit of hope and optimism during the Eid Al Fitr holidays”.

Infections in Kuwait have been rising sharply despite bans on movement and the closure of the major supermarket chain after cases were discovered among its workers.

Shortly after the outbreak of the virus, Kuwait took some of the most drastic steps in the region to curb the coronavirus’s spread.

In early March, the country stopped all travel except cargo flights.

It banned people from going to restaurants and cafes and asked them to no longer hold Kuwait’s traditional diwaniya private and public gatherings.

Authorities also initiated legal proceedings against people spreading fake news and rumours in relation to coronavirus.