Kuwait locks down two districts, extends public holiday over coronavirus

Kuwaiti police officers man a checkpoint at Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, above, on two heavily populated areas where poorer expatriate workers live. (AFP)
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Updated 07 April 2020

Kuwait locks down two districts, extends public holiday over coronavirus

  • Interior minister urged people to stay indoors even during non-curfew hours

DUBAI: 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. 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.


Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

Updated 43 min 57 sec ago

Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

  • Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran dismissed US efforts to restore all UN sanctions on the country as mounting economic pressure from Washington pushed the local currency down to its lowest level ever on Sunday.
Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran.
The rial has lost more than 30 percent of its value to the dollar since June as sweeping US sanctions on Iran continue to crush its ability to sell oil globally. Iran’s currency was at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which was signed by the Obama administration but which the Trump administration pulled the US from.
As the currency plummeted, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the Trump administration’s declaration Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran have been reimposed because Tehran is not complying with the nuclear deal.
The US move has been rejected as illegal by most of the rest of the world and sets the stage for an ugly showdown at the world body ahead of its annual General Assembly this week.
Even before the US declaration, other Security Council members had vowed to ignore it. They say the US lost legal standing to invoke snapback sanctions when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and began reimposing US sanctions on Iran.
The Iranian government spokesman said the snapback sanctions have only happened in “the fantastical world” of the Trump administration. He said the US stands on the wrong side of history.
“They are attempting to make everyone believe it, but nobody is buying it except for themselves,” Khatibzadeh said during his weekly press briefing on Sunday.
“It is a television show whose sole presenter, viewers and those cheering it on are Mr. Pompeo himself and a handful of others,” the spokesman said, referring to the US secretary of state.
“Tehran’s message to Washington is clear: return to the international community, return to your commitments and stop bullying so the international community will accept you,” he added.
The White House plans to issue an executive order on Monday spelling out how the US will enforce the restored sanctions, and the State and Treasury departments are expected to outline how foreign individuals and businesses will be penalized for violations.
Tensions are running high between Iran and the US, particularly since a US strike in January killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting Tehran to retaliate with a ballistic missile strike on Iraqi bases housing American troops.