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10-day home quarantine for arrivals, 3 if PCR negative

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday imposed a 10-day home quarantine on all arriving passengers starting from Sunday, Dec 26, as the number of new coronavirus cases reported in the country increased slightly. At an extraordinary meeting, the Cabinet decided that passengers arriving in Kuwait must carry a certificate of a negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours instead of 72.

Arrivals must then undergo home quarantine for 10 days, but the period can be reduced if a PCR test taken 72 hours after arrival is negative, a Cabinet statement said. The statement said travel must be restricted only when “necessary” and people must continue to observe health conditions and precautionary measures.

The Cabinet statement also said people who had taken the second COVID vaccine dose more than nine months ago are no longer considered to be immune unless they take the third booster dose. This means that Kuwait no longer considers vaccines administered nine months ago as sufficient to protect people against the coronavirus.

In recent days, health authorities have reported a slight increase in the number of new coronavirus cases after more than two months of extremely low cases. Based on statistics provided by the health ministry, between Oct 10 and Dec 10, Kuwait reported fewer than 40 cases daily and as low as 12 cases on one day, with the percentage of infection dropping to as low as 0.1 percent. But in the past five days, the ministry has reported more than 40 cases daily, with 75 cases on Sunday and 81 on Friday. Kuwait has reported only a few deaths in the past two months.

The Cabinet’s measures come amid worldwide panic over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant which has hit several European countries, especially the United Kingdom, where Kuwaitis prefer to spend their holidays. Kuwait has so far reported just one Omicron case in a European man who arrived from an African nation that has reported several Omicron cases. The name of the country and the man’s nationality were not revealed.

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