Kuwaiti charities raise $30m in one day to combat coronavirus

Almost 200,000 people contributed to the funding drive

epa08330705 A person checks temperature of workers before entering a worksite in Kuwait City, Kuwait, 29 March 2020. Kuwait imposed a nationwide curfew due to the ongoing pandemic of the Covid-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.  EPA/NOUFAL IBRAHIM

Charities and people in Kuwait have raised more than $30 million (Dh110.2m) in one day to support the country's government in combating the coronavirus outbreak.

The fund was launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs and 41 charities took part by donating via an online link.

On Sunday, Assistant Undersecretary for Social Development Hanaa Al Hajri estimated more than 198,200 people made a contribution.

Kuwait currently has 255 cases of coronavirus, with 67 recoveries.

The money raised will fund logistical support to health centres, quarantine facilities and to support those affected by the outbreak.

But the government denied the existence of a website on which citizens could sign up for aid.

Last week, Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah instructed the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences to allocate 10 million Kuwaiti dinars (Dh117.5m) for an emergency response programme to tackle the virus.

The foundation is working with the Dasman Diabetes Institute to sequence the genome of coronavirus.

It will also offer training courses and education initiatives while schools and universities are suspended.

The institute has sequenced the genetic make-up of four samples of coronavirus, director general Dr Qais Al Duwairi told state news agency Kuna last week.

The fund-raising drive came as the country repatriated its citizens on flights from London, Tehran and Paris on Sunday.

All those brought home will be quarantined, the Kuwaiti government said.