Kuwait to allow international travel again, but not from everywhere

Kuwait will allow citizens and residents to travel to and from the country starting Saturday, but people from India, Iran and some other nations will still not be allowed to enter.

al-monitor The Sheikh Jaber Causeway is seen in Kuwait City on June 21, 2020. The causeway project, which includes two paths over Kuwait Bay, was officially inaugurated in May 2019. It may see more traffic now that Kuwait is opening up more; international travel is to recommence starting Aug. 1, 2020. Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 30, 2020

Kuwaitis and Kuwait residents will be able to enter and exit the country again starting Saturday, but travelers from some countries will still be barred.

Kuwait’s Center for Government Communication said today that citizens and residents of Kuwait will be able to travel to and from the country starting Saturday. People coming from India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal will still not be allowed to enter, the center said in a tweet.

Kuwait closed its airport in March to regularly scheduled passenger flights, like many other countries in the region. Some repatriation flights have continued operating.

The countries from which people cannot arrive are struggling to contain COVID-19. Iran has been perhaps the hardest hit by the virus in the Middle East and now has a shortage of medical workers. In India, the virus has become so widespread that some communities in impoverished, urban areas may be developing herd immunity. Bangladesh recently made headlines when a man was arrested for allegedly issuing thousands of fake COVID-19 tests.

Foreigners are the majority of the population in Kuwait. People come from across the Middle East, South Asia and elsewhere to work in the oil-rich kingdom. The Kuwaiti government has signaled a desire to reduce the number of non-Kuwaitis in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Center for Government Communication also said that people entering Kuwait will be subject to unspecified health requirements starting Saturday.

Kuwait is in the process of reopening the country despite the continued spread of COVID-19. Kuwait eased its curfew this week and allowed prayers in mosques for the ongoing Eid al-Adha holiday. The Gulf country has registered several hundred COVID-19 cases a day for several weeks. The Kuwaiti Minister of Health reported 626 new cases of the coronavirus today, according to the state-run Kuwait News Agency.