The Kuwaiti stock market dropped by 10.98 percent in the first 30 minutes of trading on Sunday morning as investors responded to the spread of the coronavirus across the Arabian Gulf.
The market had been closed since Tuesday for public holidays and had yet to respond to the rise of cases in the country and regionally. Other regional stock markets fell again in the morning, with Abu Dhabi’s head index dropping 3.76 percent, Dubai’s index down 4.73 percent, the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) index dropping 2.97 percent, and Bahrain’s bourse down 2.11 percent.
On Friday, Kuwaiti health authorities reported two more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected up to 45.
The Kuwaiti bourse company announced on Saturday that trading would resume as normal, but that the main hall would be shut and visitor’s seats in the hallways have been removed as a measure to limit people gathering and spreading the virus.
The patients, who are all “in good health,” had recently been to Iran, where the number of reported cases of the virus is the highest in the region, a doctor said during a press conference.
A spokesman for the ministry had said on Thursday that Kuwait has been in constant contact with the World Health Organization (WHO), and that several measures are being taken to contain the spread of the virus, officially named COVID-19.
All of the cases in Kuwait have so far originated from Iran, which is currently the most deadly epicenter for the virus outside of China, the starting point of the epidemic.