Kuwait expands curfew, extends public sector work suspension

Nurses await to admit expatriates in a makeshift coronavirus testing center in Kuwait city, Kuwait. (file photo: Reuters)
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Updated 20 April 2020

Kuwait expands curfew, extends public sector work suspension

  • The 4 pm to 8 am curfew would go into effect at the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan

KUWAIT: Kuwait will extend the suspension of work in the public sector including at government ministries until May 31 and expand a nationwide curfew to 16 hours as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus, a government spokesman said on Monday.
He said in televised remarks that the 4 pm to 8 am curfew would go into effect at the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which could fall on Thursday or later this week depending on the sighting of the new crescent moon.
Elsewhere in the Gulf region, Qatar said it would on Wednesday start to gradually lift a lockdown imposed since March 17 on a large section of an industrial zone, where many low-income migrant workers live and work and which had emerged as a hot spot for the virus.
Nearly 6,500 workers were moved into quarantine between April 14-17 as a precautionary step ahead of the opening of the area although they show no clear symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, a government spokeswoman said.
The Gulf region has seen an increasing number of infections among foreign workers living in overcrowded accommodation.
The number of cases in the six Gulf Arab states has risen steadily to surpass 28,000, with more than 170 deaths, despite containment measures including halting passenger flights, imposing curfews and closing most public venues.


Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers

Updated 2 min 13 sec ago

Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers

  • It also amends other tax tranches to ‘reduce the tax burden on those with limited income’

BEIRUT: Syria’s President Bashar Assad moved on Wednesday to exempt more low-wage earners from income tax, his office said, as the economy buckles under the weight of US sanctions and nearly a decade of war.
The legislative decree, the first such amendment in years, widens the tranche of low-income workers exempt from tax to cover those earning $40 (50,000 Syrian pounds) or less per month, up from $12 (15,000 Syrian pounds). It also amends other tax tranches to “reduce the tax burden on those with limited income,” the presidency said.
Syrians have suffered from steep price hikes in recent months as the collapse of the currency drives up inflation and piles on hardship. The economy has been hit also by a financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon that has choked off a key source of dollars.
In a separate decision, the presidency also said Assad was giving a one-time grant of $40 (50,000 Syrian pounds) to all employees in state institutions including in the army. Retired public workers would get $32 (40,000 pounds).