A view shows boats moored at the marina of Souq Sharq mall in Kuwait city during the 20-day nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: A full curfew in place across Kuwait against the novel coronavirus has ground the country's ports to complete paralysis, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas has reported.

Companies and individuals have been unable to obtain security permits during the curfew to allow clearing their goods that have pilled up and exceeded the capacity of ports to handle them, the report said, citing well-informed sources.

They warned that should the situation persist, the country could face shortages of food and medicine supplies.

"Thousands of tonnes are now accumulated in warehouses and container courtyards at the ports of Al Shuwaikh and Al Shuaiba. There is no longer a capability to handle incoming ships due to the accumulation of goods," the sources said. "The continuation of this situation could result in the perishing of imported food and frozen beef, and consequently cause damage to thousands of importers and consumers."

No security permits have been issued to shipping agents and custom-clearance firms since the round-the-clock curfew came into effect on May 10, the sources said.

Imported goods to the ports make up around 90 per cent of the total imports to Kuwait, according to the same sources.

"Truck drivers cannot at present load goods because some security checkpoints stop them for having no security permits."

The sources warned that ports' inability to handle vessels will make Kuwait liable to pay fines of up to 50,000 dollars or compel those ships to sail to regional harbours, thus causing heavy losses to companies and individuals.

There was no immediate comment from authorities.

An increase in coronavirus incidence rates in Kuwait has prompted the government there to impose the total curfew that continues until May 30.