Stock Kuwait airport passengers
From March 13, 2020 to August 1, Kuwait’s airport remained shut to all commercial airlines. Image Credit: AP

Kuwait City: While new visas are on hold and non-Kuwaitis are barred from travelling to Kuwait, the Ministry of Heath’s COVID-19 emergency committee approved a request by the Federation of Private Hospitals to issue new work visas for healthcare workers, local media reported.

The decision will allow medical, nursing, technical and administrative staff to enter Kuwait and work in private hospitals and clinics.

Kuwait has halted issuing new visas since the start of the pandemic, and has barred non-Kuwaitis from travelling to the country since February 7, until further notice.

Similarly, the Federation of Cooperative Societies has put forth a request to the Cabinet of Ministers asking for the green light to allow supermarket workers stranded abroad to return to Kuwait.

Stranded abroad

Many residents are stuck outside of Kuwait, unable to return since the start of the pandemic due to several travel restrictions and bans.

From March 13, 2020 to August 1, Kuwait’s airport remained shut to all commercial airlines. Then hours before the airport was supposed to open, the government announced that passengers arriving from 31 countries are barred from entering Kuwait. Some of the countries on the list where the majority of residents were India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Egypt.

Eager to return to Kuwait, many residents stranded abroad travelled to neighbouring countries quarantined for 14 days, at their own expense, before being able to enter Kuwait. However, there is a limit on the number of passengers that are able to return to Kuwait per day so many were stuck abroad longer and airlines cancelled flights due to being over capacity.

Then on February 7, Kuwait enforced a travel ban barring all non-Kuwaiti from entering until further notice. To date, many are stuck abroad unable to return due to the ban.