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KTTAA chairman urges for cancellation of 14-day quarantine requirement

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 23: Chairperson of the Kuwait Travel & Tourism Agencies Association (KTTAA) Muhammad Lafi Al-Mutairi appealed to the concerned authorities, particularly those in the health sector, to cancel the quarantine requirement for a period of 14 days, similar to what some countries such as Bahrain did, and to depend on a PCR certificate at the airport – a move that the United Kingdom intends to adopt, reports Al-Anba daily.

Muhammad Lafi Al-Mutairi

In a press statement, Al-Mutairi stressed that taking such a decision will contribute to containing the unprecedented losses that the tourism and travel sector has suffered, warning that continuing with this approach will cause tremendous damage and continuous losses to not only the travel agencies but the entire travel and tourism sector in general.

He explained that imposing a quarantine period of 14 days did not help in and will not contribute to containing the spread of COVID-19 but instead increase the suffering of the sector. Travelers are reluctant to travel because of the damages that they sustain as a result of the quarantine requirement, as it restricts them from movement and attending to their interests. Therefore, they prefer waiting until the situation changes in favor of their interests at a time when the situation has exhausted everyone and continues to kill the economy.

Al-Mutairi said, “The Kuwaiti economy is suffering due to the COVID-19 crisis. This approach cannot be sustained. We instead need measures to help the economy recover and grow, and this can only be done by opening the door for travel movement, instead of restricting it and confining travelers in their homes.”

He affirmed that the decision to cancel the quarantine requirement will boost travel, as the  losses have currently reached millions of dollars.

Al-Mutairi indicated that many travel agencies have closed their doors and laid off their employees, adding that the few that remain are satisfied with a small number.

He highlighted that poor conditions can be expected if this pace of decisions continues.

Al-Mutairi indicated that the  International Air Transport Association (IATA) had addressed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and provided it with a study stating that home or institutional quarantine is like a total closure of the airport, and that a number of countries have recently lifted the home or institutional quarantine, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Kingdom, and nearly 30 other countries.

He stressed that home or institutional quarantine is imposed only for the infected, and some countries do not even require a PCR certificate except for suspected cases that show signs of infection.

Al-Mutairi called for allowing the citizens of 31 countries who are prohibited from entering Kuwait except through a third country, as this category constitutes an essential element to activate the movement of travel while being satisfied with the PCR swab, which indicates that they are free of infection, as is imposed in many airports in different countries of the world.

He said, “This should be implemented instead of home  or institutional quarantine so that the idea of residing in a third country for a period of 14 days is canceled. If this proposal falters, then we have an institutional quarantine”.

He concluded by stressing the need to merge the three stages for reviving airport traffic and raising the operational capacity of Kuwait International Airport to 100 percent instead of 30 percent, as well as opening the airport for 24 hours instead of the current situation whereby air traffic stops from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am, in order to facilitate the connection flights to various airports around the world through Kuwait International Airport.

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