KUWAIT: An archive photo showing the interior of Kuwait International Airport.

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Kuwait's civil aviation agency said yesterday that a five-month ban on the entry of flights from 35 countries will be lifted from February 21 but arrivals must be quarantined at local hotels for 14 days. Those countries include India, Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh whose citizens make up the majority of expats living in Kuwait. They were banned as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation's announcement means that a 14-day total ban on the entry of all expats into the country will also be lifted. The announcement said that arrivals from those banned countries must first register through the 'Kuwait Mosafer' application and select one of the local hotels authorized by the government. Stay at the hotels is at the expense of arrivals.

As for flights from other countries, passengers must be quarantined for seven days at one of the hotels and undergo a PCR test on the sixth day. If the test result is negative, they will be quarantined at home for another seven days, according to the announcement.

The announcement said that airlines operating to Kuwait must not accept any passenger without registering at 'Kuwait Mosafer' platform through link https://Kuwaitmosafer.gov.kw. Passengers must pay the cost of two PCR tests through 'Kuwait Mosafer' application or through coordination with the airlines.

No lockdown

In the meantime, the government yesterday quashed rumors that a decision to impose a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "No decision has been issued to impose a partial or total lockdown. However, all options to face the consequences of the COVID-19 are on the table of the health authorities," government spokesman Tareq Al-Mazrem said on his Twitter account. He called on all to comply with health measures and to stay away from rumors.

No mention of any change in the suspension of visit visas. The issuance of new visit visas has been suspended since March 2020. Lawmakers, meanwhile, yesterday acknowledged that the suspension of the assembly sessions for one month is the unquestionable constitutional right of the Amir, but they blamed Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah for the political stalemate in the country.

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Wednesday issued a decree ordering the suspension of the assembly sessions for one month starting from February 18, based on an article in the constitution. The last regular session the assembly held was on January 5. The following day the government boycotted the assembly session after three opposition lawmakers filed to grill the prime minister.

Twelve opposition MPs issued a joint statement in which they bluntly blamed the prime minister and assembly speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem of attempting to "undermine the constitution and forge the popular will" and insisted they are the main reason for the current crisis.

The statement stressed the way out of this political crisis is through respecting the constitution, allowing MPs to exercise their constitutional rights and separating between the powers of the three authorities. The statement called for sparing the Kuwaiti judiciary from being involved in political disputes. They pledged to continue their relentless campaign against forces of corruption.

MPs who signed the statement include Mohammad Al-Mutair, Abdulkarim Al-Kundari, Bader Al-Dahoum, Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Musaed Al-Mutairi, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Thamer Al-Suwait, Marzouk Al-Khalifa, Khaled Al-Oteibi, Fares Al-Oteibi and Saifi Al-Saifi.

Later, MP Muwaizri said that the best solution to the crisis is through the resignation of Ghanem and His Highness Sheikh Sabah. MP Osama Al-Munawer said he will carry out his threat and file to grill the prime minister for delaying the formation of the new cabinet. MP Dahoum welcomed the possibility that the assembly may be dissolved as a result of the ongoing crisis "because this will end the era of Ghanem and Sheikh Sabah," adding that the Kuwaiti people will elect a stronger assembly.