FILE PHOTO: General view of a empty kids playground, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Doha, Qatar March 17, 2020. (Photo: 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.
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)