12 more cases registered as Kuwait bans social gatherings
March 19 2020 12:32 AM
Expatriates, arriving to Kuwait, stand a safe distance apart to give their details to ministry of health officials in a makeshift coronavirus testing centre, at Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishref, yesterday.

Reuters/ Dubai/Riyadh

Kuwait recorded 12 more cases yesterday, including six Kuwaitis, an American resident and a Spanish resident who had all been to Britain.
This took the total number of infections in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) to over 1,100.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health also issued a decree yesterday to ban different types of social gatherings, including weddings and others, whether they were held in public or private places, including houses or diwaniyas (gathering halls), to prevent the further spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country and in accordance with the requirements of the public interest, QNA reported.
The decree also banned large non-family gatherings and receptions, as well as social gatherings in public or private diwaniyas, according to the Kuwaiti news agency (Kuna). The police personnel appointed by the Ministry of Interior will be tasked to enforce the decree in accordance with laws connected with the prevention of the disease, Kuna added.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health had announced yesterday that it registered 12 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of cases to 142, adding 15 patients have recovered.
The United Arab Emirates said it would bar foreign visitors, banned citizens from going abroad and said anyone entering the country must isolate for two weeks, escalating a battle to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia suspended most work in its private sector among various moves by Gulf countries to contain the virus.
The UAE, a major international air transit centre and the Gulf region’s tourism and business hub, said yesterday all arrivals must remain in isolation at home for 14 days from today.
Legal action will be taken against people who do not comply with the order, the state news agency WAM reported Attorney General Hamad al-Shamsi as saying.
The steering committee of countries participating in Expo 2020, a world fair starting in October that the UAE hopes will boost its economy, met virtually to discuss how coronavirus is impacting event preparations.
The group will reconvene in the coming weeks to reassess the situation, a statement said. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have already been under virtual lockdown after temporarily suspending all international flights last week and closing most public venues.
Oman has banned entry of foreigners.
Muscat, which has also prevented citizens from travelling abroad, asked travel operators to advise foreign tourists against staying in the sultanate.
Oman also suspended public transportation, excluding buses serving remote areas.
The moves are the latest in a series of exceptional measures by Gulf states to combat the outbreak, including cancelling the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and closing mosques, malls and restaurants across the region.
Saudi Arabia, suspended work in most of the private sector for 15 days and directed businesses to implement work-from-home policies.
The human resource ministry said businesses should close main offices, reduce staff levels at secondary locations, limit staff contact and monitor them for symptoms of infection.
Oman’s central bank became the latest to offer stimulus packages to shield the region’s hydrocarbon-dependent economies, saying yesterday it would provide some 8bn rials ($20.8bn) in extra liquidity to banks.
Many of the cases in the region are linked to travel to Iran, where the death toll from coronavirus has hit 1,135 and the number of infections 17,361 so far.
Bahrain, which this week recorded the GCC’s first death from the disease, will evacuate more citizens from the Iranian city of Mashhad with a second repatriation flight scheduled for today, a Bahraini official told Reuters.
He said the flight, using an Omani aircraft, had been delayed for a week while quarantine facilities were being prepared in Bahrain, where a main isolation centre has been set up on a barren island linked to the mainland by a causeway.
Gulf airlines have suspended dozens of routes as coronavirus contagion disrupts global travel. The UAE still allows entry of foreign diplomats and residents and foreign visitors can still enter Bahrain.
Oman continues to permit transit flights. Dubai-based Emirates said it has asked pilots to take unpaid leave.

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