Kuwait imposes curfew amid rising COVID-19 cases, Jordan suspends classroom classes

Kuwait imposes curfew amid rising COVID-19 cases, Jordan suspends classroom classes
Above, people register to be inoculated at Al-Naseem COVID-19 vaccination center in Al-Jahra governorate, north of Kuwait on March 4, 2021. (AFP)

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Kuwait imposes curfew amid rising COVID-19 cases, Jordan suspends classroom classes

DUBAI: Kuwait has imposed a minimum one-month curfew to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, after reporting the highest infections in 24 hours since the outbreak started.

“The curfew will be imposed from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. local time as of Sunday March 7 until April 8,” state news agency KUNA reported in a government statement.

Kuwait on Thursday recorded 1,716 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total count to 196,497, including 1,105 deaths.

The Gulf country has since Feb. 7 cut opening hours for non-essential retail shops and banned non-citizens from entering the country, but a steep increase in cases in the past week has forced the government to take more stringent measures.

Those who break the rules, which also include mandatory use of face masks outside the home, can be fined as much as $16,000 and jailed for up to three months, KUNA reported.

A government spokesman said people were allowed walk to mosques to perform prayers during curfew hours, but pharmacies and food shops must use delivery services and all public parks and recreational areas will be closed. Taxis are allowed to service only two passengers.

Other Gulf countries have tightened public health restrictions to address the pandemic, with Oman mandating businesses including restaurants and cafes to close between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. until March 20. They are also banned from providing home delivery services.

“The decision excludes fuel stations, health institutions and private pharmacies, and the committee’s decision does not include the movement ban of individuals and vehicles,” a report from Times of Oman said.

Meanwhile Jordan has suspended the return of 4th to 9th graders to in-person classroom education until further notice.

“The 4th to 9th grades will continue to receive distance education,” statement from the education ministry said, in a report from Petra news agency.

Students instead will now receive direct and remote learning, according to the ministry’s plan to return to schools over the second semester, the statement added.

Jordan reported 5,733 new coronavirus cases and 40 fatalities on Thursday, bringing its caseload to 413,350 with a death toll of 4,833.