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Thu 12 Mar 2020 08:40 AM

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Kuwait to take legal action against coronavirus rumour-mongers

Kuwait announced national holiday until March 29 in an attempt to contain the virus

Kuwait to take legal action against coronavirus rumour-mongers

Al-Saleh reiterated his stance that those not adhering to the regulatory 14-day quarantine period will also face legal repercussions. Image: KUNA

Kuwait has taken legal action against people spreading rumours related to the deadly coronavirus disease.

The Ministries of Interior and Information revealed that law suits have been filed against individuals who have passed on false claims surrounding the virus.

"We will not tolerate those who spread rumours and they will be held accountable," Deputy Premier, Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Anas Al-Saleh, told a news conference.

He added: “It (Ministry) will track all those who spread rumours and indeed the ministries of interior and information filed law suits against persons behind rumours," he said. "Rumour is undermining health security and causes panic among public.”

Al-Saleh reiterated his stance that those not adhering to the regulatory 14-day quarantine period will also face legal repercussions.

There are currently 72 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kuwait. There are 9,000 cases in nearby Iran 45 in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and 71 in Iraq.

On Wednesday Kuwait suspended all work in government and private sectors at the request of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO). “This decision aims at minimizing gatherings of people for two weeks, the time of incubation of the virus," said Al-Saleh.

The country has announced it will halt all commercial flights to and from the country starting Friday and until further notice, with the exception of cargo flights.

Banks in the country will also close on Thursday and reopen on March 29.

Kuwait Banking Association chairman Adel Al-Majed said only one branch of every bank would be open in every Governorate.

Al-Majed said the banks would continue offering electronic services, including local and international money transfer and added that ATM machines will be supplied with cash to enable people to withdraw money.

Al-Saleh, meanwhile, played down fears about food shortages and emphasised food quantity was enough. "We are passing through exceptional circumstances," he said.

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