Suicide cases have increased by around 40 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Measures imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Kuwait are believed to have increased suicide cases in the country. Forty suicide cases and 15 failed attempts, mainly among Asian expatriates, have been recorded in Kuwait since late February, Al Qabas newspaper reported, citing well-informed sources.

Investigations into the majority of cases have revealed that those who committed suicide had experienced psychological and economic miseries due to dire financial circumstances after their employers stopped to pay them as a result of economic fallout from the coronavirus-related measures. In one case, an expatriate livestreamed his suicide while chatting with his fiancee on a social networking platform.

Kuwaiti security authorities registered in the holy month of Ramadan three suicide cases involving foreign residents: a Ugandan, an Egyptian and a Filipino. The latter was found to be a COVID-19 patient.

Suicide cases have increased by around 40 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the sources. Some 70 to 80 suicide cases are recorded annually in Kuwait. Last year, they reached 80 suicides against 77 in 2018.

Security investigations and testimonies from relatives of some persons, who had attempted suicide, showed that several of them had come under pressure from landlords to pay rents and from kin in their home countries, demanding money from them. Experts have expressed views on the upward suicidal trend.

"Suicide cases have started to go up in Kuwait during the coronavirus pandemic due to fear, anxiety, isolation and instability experienced by people and absence of daily aims that could help the person to spend time regularly as before," social psychology consultant Samira Al Dosari said.

In her opinion, there are other motives for suicide. "They include financial pressure and crises gripping individuals from different nationalities amid the coronavirus pandemic," she told Al Qabas. "Those individuals depend for their living on daily labour that has stopped because of the pandemic."

Uncertainty facing some expatriates, whose countries have refused to take them in, is another motive for attempting suicide, according to Jamil Al Muri, a sociology professor at the Kuwait University.

"This is in addition to greed of the iqamat traders, who have brought into the country workers in names of phantom companies and abandoned them on the streets," he added.

The professor gave other potential motives. "They include rising pressure due to firing from work or joblessness; running out of money; regarding suicide as a solution to problems; suffering an inferior look or derision especially among Asians from others who claim they are the reason for the coronavirus crisis and see them as the virus carriers," Al Muri told the same paper.

Starting from Tuesday, Kuwait will embark on the second phase of a stepwise plan to bring life to normal. According to Phase 2, a nationwide nighttime curfew will be reduced by one hour to run daily from 8pm until 5am for three weeks. Government employees will return to work with a maximum capacity of 30 per cent after a three-month closure.