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Thu 27 Feb 2020 09:19 AM

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Kuwait demands urgent action from WHO to curb coronavirus spread

Government has ordered all schools, colleges and universities to be closed from March 1 to 12

Kuwait demands urgent action from WHO to curb coronavirus spread

Kuwaiti men wearing protective masks shop in Kuwait City. The Kuwait Supply Company has been tasked with supplying local markets with enough face masks and the Social Affairs Ministry, in coordination with the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies, are to make available all sterilisation products.

Kuwait has demanded a “specialised global medical team” from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is sent to the country to help bring the spread of coronavirus under control.

An extraordinary meeting of the government was held on Wednesday where a number of measures were agreed, as the total number of cases in the state reached 26.

According to a report on the Kuwait state news agency (KUNA), the appeal has gone out to the WHO to send a team “as soon as possible to review and assess measures taken by the state bodies to control the new coronavirus and offer their advice and recommendations”.

The cabinet has also agreed to suspend all government and private schools, colleges, universities and military colleges, and Awqaf and Islamic Affairs educational centres, as of March 1 until March 12.

The Kuwait Supply Company has been tasked with supplying local markets with enough face masks and the Social Affairs Ministry, in coordination with the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies, are to make available all sterilisation products.

Special session

A special session of parliament is to be held to brief lawmakers about measures to combat the virus, while a renewed appeal has gone out to citizens and expats to avoid large gatherings and ignore rumours about the coronavirus.

Minister of Health Dr. Sheikh Bassel Al-Sabah, head of the taskforce in charge of watching the developments of the disease, said all cases had been moved to a government hospital for treatment and stressed that all those infected are currently in a “stable” condition.

A week after Tehran announced its first two deaths from the virus, the death toll in Iran has climbed to 19 and the country is scrambling to contain what is the deadliest outbreak outside China.

In the Middle East, so far there are confirmed cases in the UAE (13), Kuwait (26), Lebanon (2), Oman (4), Iraq (5), Iran (139) and Bahrain (33).

The worldwide death toll is now at more than 2,700, while the number of infections has topped 80,000, although the number of new cases in China, where the virus was first reported late last year, is falling.

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