Kuwait announces 20-day nationwide full coronavirus lockdown

Citizens will be allowed to leave their homes for two hours per day for walking

epa08383850 A Kuwaiti passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Kuwait international airport, in Kuwait city, Kuwait, 25 April 2020, 25 April 2020, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Kuwait is repatriating its citizens from abroad, the country's national aviation authority announced.  EPA/NOUFAL IBRAHIM
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Kuwait has announced a “total” lockdown of 20 days to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It will begin at 4pm on Sunday, May 10, and continue until May 30. Public sector work will go ahead remotely and all but essential private sector activities will be suspended.

Essential sectors such as health, security, electricity, oil and municipal services, as well as private sector companies providing services like maintenance, will be exempt from the lockdown. The workers in these sectors will be given permits.

At a press conference after the announcement on Twitter by the Kuwaiti Government Communication Centre, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Kuwait Anas Al Saleh urged citizens and expats to co-operate with security authorities "for their own safety".

The 20-day lockdown will be followed "by a gradual return to normal life, and by then the health authorities will have completed all necessary tests to deal with this disease", he said.

The latest measures were a step up from those announced on April 20, which held people indoors from 4pm to 8am. The new measures will extend a suspension of work in the public sector, including government ministries, until May 31.

Supermarkets and food outlets will remain open, but those wishing to visit them will have to obtain a permit to do so. Only one person from each family will be allowed out for shopping.

People will be required to wear protective masks and practice social distancing when out of their homes and are allowed to go out for walks between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, without using any vehicles.

Print newspapers will be suspended from Sunday and home deliveries will be allowed only for essential food and pharmaceutical supplies.

On Friday, Kuwait announced 641 new coronavirus cases and three deaths, bringing its tally of confirmed cases to 7,208 with 47 fatalities.