Kuwait has become the first state in the world to suspend all air services to and from the country in response to the COVID-19 epidemics. The state-owned Kuwait News Agency said the government has decided to announce public holidays from March 12 through to March 26, 2020.

The Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that based on the decision of the Council of Ministers regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus, the following measures would be enacted:

  1. Non-Kuwaitis are prohibited from entering Kuwait through Kuwait International Airport as of the issuance of this circular;
  2. Commercial flights are limited to Kuwaiti citizens and their first-degree relatives. It also allows entry to domestic workers accompanying them;
  3. Suspension of the commercial flights to/from Kuwait International Airport, starting after 0000L as of Friday, March 13, 2020, until further note;
  4. Airfreight is excluded from the measures;
  5. Kuwaiti citizens will be evacuated from abroad in coordination through the embassies of the State of Kuwait.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, the most affected airlines will be Kuwait Airways (63,655 weekly departure seats from Kuwait and a 33.1% market share by capacity at the airport), Jazeera Airways (26,709; 13.9%), and Qatar Airways (18,800; 9.8%).

While the public holiday will last through March 26, the DGCA did not give any timeline for KIA's its reopening.

For the duration of the closure, all public institutions will be shut while citizens have also been banned from public gatherings, including visits to cafes and restaurants. Kuwait has so far recorded 72 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the disease.