The Kuwaiti Authority has issued new a guidance regarding the COVID-19 situation on 11 March 2020, which includes the suspension of all commercial flights from 13th March 2020 until further notice.
The ban will primarily affect the country’s main gateway, Kuwait International Airport (KWI), and the two airlines based there, Kuwait Airways and LCC Jazeera Airways. The closure of the airport is an almost unprecedented response to the virus outbreak.
According to reports, cargo flights and some charter services are being permitted to fly into the country; this allows Kuwaiti nationals to get home from abroad.
Jazeera Airways has confirmed that they have cancelled all flights until the end of March. In a tweet, they mentioned "Only Kuwaiti nationals and their first degree relatives can book flights from March 12th in to Kuwait. Non-Kuwaitis can transit through Kuwait to onward connecting destinations".
The Kuwait civil aviation regulator had already suspended passenger flights from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Lebanon, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Syria, citing COVID-19.
Kuwait International Airport receives and dispatches almost 500 flights a day, serving 16 million passengers each year.
So far Kuwait has seen 72 coronavirus cases. Authorities have also announced a public holiday in the country from March 12th to March 26th, with work resuming on March 29th, KUNA said, adding that entities providing vital services would remain open.
The new guidance also stated that people were banned from going to restaurants and cafes, including those inside malls.