Kuwait halts commercial flights, closes airport due to coronavirus

March 11, 2020, 5:13 PM UTC

Kuwait is largely shutting itself down as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

The country has announced plans to halt all commercial flights beginning on Friday, with the exception of cargo flights. As of Wednesday morning, there were 70 people infected with the virus in the country.

Some exceptions will reportedly be made for Kuwaiti nationals attempting to return home.

The country did not give a timeline for the closure. Kuwait’s airport averages about 335 flights per day and saw 15.4 million people coming and going last year.

To curb halt the further spread of coronavirus, the government has banned people from going to restaurants and cafes and announced a public holiday which will run through March 26.

While it has become common for airlines to cancel flights due to the impact of coronavirus, Kuwait is the first country to take the step of closing its airport. Saudi Arabia, though, did temporarily halt the entry of pilgrims who wanted to visit religious sites.

Other countries, including the U.S., have cancelled events that would have large gatherings of people and many schools have shut down or gone to an online-only learning approach. And Disney has shut down several resorts, temporarily, to prevent the spread.

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