Round-the-clock curfew in Kuwait as Covid-19 infections spread among workers at supermarkets

Al-Khaldiya supermarket: 40% of its staff have tested positive for Covid-19

Kuwait has been placed under a round-the-clock curfew following the discovery of a major Covid-19 outbreak among employees at supermarkets.

One large Kuwaiti chain, the Khaldya Cooperative Society, shut its doors until further notice after 103 workers – about 40% of its total staff – tested positive for the virus. Sixty infections have been reported at another chain, the Adailiya Cooperative Society. This has raised fears that more infections will follow among their customers.

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Kuwait first introduced preventive measures – including a night-time curfew – back in March and until recently it seemed to be more successful than several of its Gulf neighbours in limiting the spread of infections.

Over the last week, however, the number of recorded cases has risen by 74% to 8,688. On Sunday alone, 1,065 new cases were reported.

New cases recorded in Kuwait, day by day since April 1

The full-scale lockdown which began at 4pm on Sunday is due to last until May 30 – which means the restrictions will still be in place during the Eid al-Fitr festival at the end of Ramadan.

All non-essential businesses will be closed for the duration and government services will be available only online.

People will be allowed out to buy food, but only after booking an appointment. They will also be allowed to go for walks wearing face masks between 4.30 and 6.30 pm each day, but not to use vehicles.

Printing of newspapers has been suspended and the only home deliveries allowed are food and medicines.

Sixty infections have been reported at the Adailiya supermarket chain

Middle East updates

New cases

A further 6,893 Covid-19 infections have been reported in the Middle East and North Africa since yesterday's update.

Countries reporting more than a thousand new cases were Saudi Arabia (1,912), Iran (1,383), Qatar (1,189) and Kuwait (1,065).

The list below shows cumulative totals (excluding Iran) since the outbreak began, with day-on-day increases in brackets.

Algeria 5,723 (+165)
Bahrain 4,941 (+167)
Egypt 9,400 (+436)
Iraq 2,767 (+88)
Israel 16,492 (+34)
Jordan 540 (+18)
Kuwait 8,688 (+1,065)
Lebanon 845 (+36)
Libya 64 (-)
Morocco 6,063 (+25)
Oman 3,573 (+174)
Palestine 547 (-)
Qatar 22,520 (+1,189)
Saudi Arabia 39,048 (+1,912)
Sudan 1,365 (+201)
Syria 47 (-)
Tunisia 1,032 (-)
UAE 18,198 (-)
Yemen 53 (+17)

TOTAL: 141,853 (+5,510)

Note: Yemen's total includes two cases reported by the unrecognised Houthi government in the north of the country.

New cases reported in the Middle East (excluding Iran) day by day during the past two months

Death toll

A further 103 coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the region yesterday – 51 of them in Iran.

The list below shows cumulative totals of reported deaths in the region outside Iran, with day-on-day increases in brackets.

Algeria 502 (+8)
Bahrain 8 (-)
Egypt 525 (+11)
Iraq 109 (+2)
Israel 254 (+6)
Jordan 9 (-)
Kuwait 58 (+9)
Lebanon 26 (-)
Libya 3 (-)
Morocco 188 (-)
Oman 17 (-)
Palestine 4 (-)
Qatar 14 (+1)
Saudi Arabia 246 (+7)
Sudan 70 (+6)
Syria 3 (-)
Tunisia 45 (-)
UAE 198 (-)
Yemen 10 (+2)

TOTAL: 2,289 (+52)

Note: Yemen's total includes one death reported by the unrecognised Houthi government in the north of the country.

Daily totals of coronavirus-related deaths in the Middle East (excluding Iran) over the past two months

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For anyone interested: A spreadsheet documenting the coronavirus cases and deaths reported in the region each day can be viewed here.