Kuwait witnessed widespread panic shopping last night but things have returned to calm by mid-morning Thursday. Around the country, locals and expatriates flocked to buy bread, canned goods, rice, flour, milk, bread, water, meat and other basic necessities after the government declared a two-week public holiday in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Kuwait has been dealing with an outbreak since late February, with 80 cases of COVID-19 now confirmed though not one case of community transmission reported. Hundreds of people remain in quarantine.
On Thursday, Kuwait government officials confirmed that basic foodstuffs and vital services will continue to be available. Municipality officials announced that all coops and groceries will remain open 24 hours to serve the public. In addition, all pharmacies, gas cylinder centers, the Kuwait Flour Mills company and gas stations would be well supplied and open for business. Kuwait’s Port Authority also confirmed that all ports remained open for cargo and shipping. The Kuwait International Airport will stop all commercial flights from midnight Friday but cargo flights will continue.
The cabinet decision banned gatherings at restaurants and cafes including those inside malls and announced the closure of gyms, sports and health clubs. Malls, salons and other services remain open for business. Traffic is normal in the streets though lighter than during school days. Restaurants are open for delivery or take out.
Meanwhile the government has opened a massive new testing center in the Mishref Fairgrounds to receive the thousands of expatriates who have traveled abroad to high infection countries. In a clarification on who must come for testing, the Ministry of Health received on Thursday people living in Jahra governorate who had traveled to or returned from Egypt, Syria or Lebanon from 27thFebruary or thereafter.