‘I did not say anything wrong:’ Kuwaiti actress after COVID-19 expat ban comments

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“This is my opinion and I did not say anything wrong,” Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahad said in response to uproar on social media after she called for a ban on expatriates amid the coronavirus outbreak in Kuwait.

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Dozens took to social media platforms on Wednesday to criticize the 71-year-old after she said the government should “send [expatriates] out... put them in the desert” to make room in hospitals for citizens who may get infected with the virus.

In an interview on Al Arabiya’s Tafa’olkum, al-Fahad said that she failed to accurately express what she meant.

“My words did not come out as I intended them to…I won’t throw them in the desert. I told you the words may have come out wrong. But maybe something can be built in the desert, quickly and within days.”

Social media users called out the actress, with many saying her comments were “racist.” When asked if she thought her statements were racist, al-Fahad answered “no.”

“The people who stayed quiet before, and are hiding their salaries now, and are acting honorable now, let them pay for [the expatriates]. Let them provide meals for them,” al-Fahad said, adding that several people who criticized her for her comments have not spoken up against illegal migrants in Kuwait and visa trade.

“When there is no supply of food, there is no supply of vegetables, there is no supply, all 5 million of us how will we eat? [The expatriates] themselves will get tired,” the actress added.

The Ministry of Trade on Thursday said on Twitter that it has been enforcing several measures in the country since the beginning of March to ensure that food supplies in the country remain adequate. This includes preventing suppliers from increasing the price of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit.

Kuwait, where 70% of the population comprises of non-citizens, has reported 342 confirmed cases of coronavirus in both Kuwaitis and expatriates.

All international flights have been halted since March 13, and a nationwide 11-hour curfew was imposed.

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