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Kuwait locks down two districts, extends public holiday over coronavirus

by Reuters
Monday, 6 April 2020 18:22 GMT

(Adds minister saying everybody inside lockdown to be tested)

DUBAI, April 6 (Reuters) - Kuwait placed a full lockdown on two densely-populated districts and extended a public holiday by two weeks until April 26 as precautionary measures against the coronavirus, the cabinet said on Monday.

It also extended its partial curfew by two hours in the morning to run from 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) until 6 a.m. effective Monday until further notice. The interior minister urged people to stay indoors even during non-curfew hours.

The Gulf Arab country has recorded 665 cases of the new coronavirus and one death so far.

It declared a two-week public holiday from March 12 except for entities providing essential services, which has since been extended.

On Monday, the cabinet said all ministries and government institutions would now remain on holiday until April 26.

The two districts to be put under a two-week "complete isolation" are Jleeb al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula, two heavily populated areas where poorer expatriate workers live.

"The decision to isolate (the two area areas) is in order to test everyone in there and treat them so it does not impact other areas," the state news agency KUNA reported the interior minister as saying.

Countries of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have recorded almost 8,000 cases of infection and 60 deaths.

Saudi Arabia reported four more deaths from the virus on Monday, bringing the total death toll there to 38.

The United Arab Emirates reported 277 new coronavirus cases, its biggest daily jump, and one new death. Dubai has also sealed off a densely populated neighbourhood where many blue-collar workers live.

In total, the UAE has recorded 2,076 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths. A ministry of health spokeswoman said the rise in case numbers in recent days was due to increased numbers of tests being carried out. (Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Chris Reese and Mark Heinrich)

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