More than a thousand expat passengers are forced to remain in transit countries, or unable to return from other countries after the sudden decision by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to continue the decision to forbid entry of expats to the country. The latest ban has forced expat workers who are spending a 14-day quarantine period in transit countries as an earlier stipulation for being allowed to travel to Kuwait to either return home or pay for their extended stay.
However, as some are unable to withstand the burgeoning financial expenses, they often cannot bide their time in transit countries. This is compounded by the hike in travel ticket prices to Kuwait which has made it too expensive for the majority of expats, especially as seats on flights are limited.
There is also the matter of expats having reserved hotel rooms on the Kuwait Mosafer app prior to their arrival, which is a condition for being allowed to return to Kuwait, under which they have to bear the expenses of the quarantine period at designated hotels.
Many expats have already paid large sums for seven to 14 day stays at various hotels for quarantine packages which include PCR tests, and maintenance according to health regulations among other facilities. They are now facing the prospect of rescheduling their flight tickets and hotel reservations until they are able to travel. Though whether it is possible to be reimbursed for the costs is yet to be ascertained.
This decision was earlier imposed from Sunday, February 7, and was supposed to last two weeks as a measure to handle the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait as well as to limit the instances of fake PCR-negative test certificates presented by passengers at Kuwait airport.
The ban implemented on Sunday at Kuwait International Airport was at the instructions of the health authorities to prevent the possible entry of mutated Coronavirus strains, especially since the coronavirus numbers have continued to rise in the country.