By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday decided against imposing a lockdown or curfew, but banned dining at restaurants and closed all land and sea borders as part of additional measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The dine-in ban at restaurants and cafes will go into effect on Wednesday, Feb 24 until further notice, the Cabinet said in a statement following a meeting at Seif Palace. However, takeout and delivery services are allowed.

The Cabinet also decided to close all land and sea borders to foreigners from Feb 24 until March 20, but allowed Kuwaitis, their close relatives and domestic helpers to use the borders to return to the country. Shipping services and workers in the neutral zone are exempt from the decision.

The Cabinet also decided to form a joint committee consisting of the interior and health ministries and the civil aviation authority to oversee the implementation of hotel quarantine for all people arriving through the airport. The Cabinet also assigned the interior and health ministries along with the Olympic committee to set health conditions for any sport activity in the country as proposed by the Public Authority for Sports.

The government had already extended indefinitely a two-week ban on the entry of foreigners into Kuwait, but excluded foreign diplomats and foreign medical staff and their families. It had also ordered the closure of commercial shops and malls from 8 pm to 5 am and banned all forms of gatherings, including those for national celebrations on Feb 25 and 26. Kuwait has reported a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the past several weeks and blamed the rise on failure to comply with health measures by the public.