A post-corona world will be filled with many challenges and surprises. All international travelers who dare step onto an airplane and into another country better take a crash course in each countries’ social distancing rules. Why? Well, you could end up in jail if you don’t wear a mask in certain Middle Eastern countries.
Anyone who is traveling to Kuwait and Qatar in the near term must really pay attention to the new social distancing rules released on Sunday. Each countries’ health authorities made a very strict rule that no mask-wearing will result in a hefty fine and possibly even jail time, reported Reuters.
If caught with no mask in Kuwait, one could face three months in jail and 5,000 dinars ($16,200) fine. In Qatar, the penalty is a bit harsher, one could face up to three years in jail and 200,000 riyals ($55,000) fine.
Stricter penalties in both countries come amid a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the region. Kuwait and Qatar have both extended nationwide lockdowns. Qatar tightened restrictions on commercial activities on Monday and closed all shops through the end of May.
A surge in virus cases prompted the Saudi government to re-impose a 24-hour curfew during the Eid al-Fitr holiday slated for later this month.
“A total curfew will be imposed in all cities and regions across the Kingdom,” from 23 May until 27 May, the Saudi Ministry of Interior said in a statement last week.
On a per-capita basis, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE have some of the highest COVID-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
JPMorgan’s latest data suggests parts of Asia could be experiencing the beginning phases of the second virus wave. This would suggest other regions of the world could follow later this year.
Countries entering second wave phase
Country positioning on the pandemic curve
While some MENA countries are strict on mask-wearing, other countries in Europe, specifically Sweden, have discouraged citizens from wearing masks. Sweden alleges mask-wearing is useless against the virus.