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World News

Wear a mask or face jail in Kuwait and Qatar

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait and Qatar both said on Sunday they would start jailing people or fining them thousands of dollars for failing to wear a facemask to combat the novel coronavirus.

FILE PHOTO - Police and civil aviation personnel wearing protective face masks work at the Kuwait Airport as the repatriation process of Kuwait citizens continues, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kuwait City, Kuwait April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

Kuwait’s health ministry said anyone caught could face up to three months in prison, while Qatar state TV reported the maximum penalty there would be three years.

In Kuwait the maximum fine stood at 5,000 dinars ($16,200) and in Qatar 200,000 riyals ($55,000).

The six Gulf states have reported a total of more than 137,400 infections with 693 deaths from the virus. Cases in the region were initially linked to travel but later saw a spread among low-income migrant workers in cramped quarters.

Saudi Arabia, with a population of around 30 million people, has the largest count at more than 54,700 cases with 312 deaths.

Qatar, a nation of some 2.8 million, has the second highest infection count at above 32,600, with 15 deaths.

The United Arab Emirates has the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths among the six states at 220. It has reported more than 23,350 cases.

($1 = 0.3090 Kuwaiti dinars)

($1 = 3.6650 Qatar riyals)

($1 = 0.3090 Kuwaiti dinars)

Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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