Kuwait, Mar 11 (EFE).- Kuwait will suspend all flights to and from its main airport due to coronavirus fears, the state-run news agency KUNA announced on Wednesday.
“Kuwait has suspended all commercial flights from and to Kuwait international airport as of Friday and until further notice. Only Kuwaiti people and their first-degree relatives are allowed in,” the official source said.
Cargo flights will also be granted entry permission, KUNA added.The Ministry of Health has reported 72 coronavirus cases, out of which three have recovered.
To help contain the spread of the deadly virus, the Kuwaiti government announced official holidays starting Thursday until 29 March.
Clubs and private healthcare centres will be closed and access to restaurants, cafes and commercial malls has been banned.
The Kuwaiti General Administration of Civil Aviation announced last week the suspension of flights between Kuwait and Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Lebanon and the Philippines, triggering major travel disruption for thousands of people.
Kuwait international airport has implemented in recent weeks preventive measures such as the installation of machines to control passenger fever.
The airport is often used as a stopover on trips between Asia and Europe or the Middle East due to its strategic location in the Persian Gulf.
Qatar, meanwhile, reported 238 new confirmed cases making it 262 confirmed cases.
Lebanon has banned flights from and to Italy, China, Iran and South Korea after the novel virus’ outbreak, which has claimed the lives of two people among 61 cases in the Arab country.
During a press conference, the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced an entry ban on passengers from coronavirus-hit countries such as France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, United Kingdom and Spain.
Iraq reported that one person had died, bringing the death toll to seven, out of a total of 70 confirmed cases after two more were registered on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia decided to suspend movie shows in theatres until further notice as a measure to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the state-run news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia has reported a total of 21 cases and no deaths have been registered, according to the daily report issued by the World Health Organization.
The new coronavirus originated in Wuhan, the capital city of the central Chinese province of Hubei, in December, and has since spread around the world.
Some of those infected develop the pneumonia-like disease Covid-19. Most of the fatalities are the elderly and those who had underlying medical conditions.
The spread of the virus, as yet uncontained, led the World Health Organization on Wednesday to declare a pandemic.
At a press conference in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organisation “was deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction”.
“We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.”
The majority of cases have been in China, the epicentre of the outbreak where more than 3,000 people have died.