KUWAIT CITY, Feb 23, (KUNA): Kuwait Ports Authority announced Sunday suspending ships coming from Iran in Shuaiba, Doha and Shuwaikh ports, due to the spread of coronavirus in the neighboring country.
This is a precautionary measure taken to prevent the virus from entering Kuwait, and is part of the country’s plan to fight the virus, the authority’s Director General Sheikh Youssef Abdullah Sabah Al-Nasser Al-Sabah said in a press statement. On Saturday, Iran announced that confirmed infection cases rose to 28, including five deaths.
Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Sabah said all Kuwaiti nationals, who arrived from Iran aboard the first evacuation flight amid concerns over new coronavirus, are “in good health and high spirits.”
A Kuwait Airways flight arrived at Sheikh Saad Terminal 3 of Kuwait International Airport at 6:00 pm. (local time) on Saturday with 130 Kuwaiti passengers, the first batch of 750 citizens slated for evacuation. Speaking to reporters, Sheikh Dr Bassel said the health authorities verified that all arrivals are free from the new coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other communicable diseases.
“The Ministry of Health instructed all preventive healthcare departments countrywide to enact the measures outlined by the relevant international protocols,” he pointed out. On coordination with the Iranian side, the minister said a team of public health practitioners arrived at an Iranian airport and were supposed, by prior arrangement with the Iranians, to conduct medical checkups for the evacuees at the terminal there.
“However, the Iranian authorities denied them entry into the terminal to complete the medical procedures, which forced conducting these measures at Kuwait airport,” he explained. Asked on the number of Kuwaiti citizens in Iran, Sheikh Dr Bassel said the figures of his ministry show that 750 citizens are in Iranian cities, mainly in Tehran and Mashhad.
“They will be brought back aboard five flights as per the arrangements with the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (GDCA),” he said, noting that the preventive measures are enforced at all air and land ports.
The minister denied as “totally untrue” the rumors, circulated on social media websites, on alleged COVID-19 infections in the country. Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad said the sixth group of Kuwaiti nationals, who were evacuated from Iran, arrived home on Sunday. “More than 800 Kuwaiti citizens have been brought back from Iran due to outbreak of the new COVID-19 there.
All of them are sound and safe, and showed no symptoms of the disease,” Dr Al-Sanad told reporters. Before the start of the evacuations Saturday, the Ministry of Health adopted precautionary measures to make sure that all arrivals are free from COVID-19; some these measures were carried out aboard the evacuation flights and the terminals of Kuwait International Airport, he pointed out.
“These include asking the passengers to fill health disclosure forms stating their health conditions and whether they suffered from any fever in the recent days as well as their phone numbers,” Dr Al-Sanad revealed. The preventive measures also include fitting thermal cameras to screen the arrivals at Kuwait airport and all other ports and borders posts countrywide to help make sure that all persons arriving in the country are free from any communicable diseases, he added.