Coronavirus in KuwaitKuwait

COVID health restrictions take effect today as new cases continue to soar

Situation in schools reassuring; no current plans for lockdown

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced yesterday recording a new daily record of 4,397 new infections with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). With the new contamination cases, Kuwait’s caseload climbed to 441,999. Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad, the MoH Spokesperson, said in a statement to the press that medical authorities recorded 626 new recovery cases, increasing the overall count of the cured to 414,867, noting that the proportion of the healed as compared to the total number of the cases reached 93.9 percent.

Dr Sanad also revealed that there was a single death due to the virus during the same period, thus the whole figure of deaths reached 2,473. As to the number of people receiving medical treatment at intensive care units, he said that there were 15 patients in these wards as of yesterday; up from 14 the previous day. The whole count of the cases with confirmed infection that continue to receive treatment has reached 24,659 and the number of people that are treated at the COVID-19 wards has stood at 162. Also in the same duration, medical staff conducted 37,540 PCR tests with the whole number of these examinations soaring to 6,273,509, Dr Sanad said, also noting that the proportion of the infection cases to the tests reached 11.7 percent.

New restrictions

Several new heath restrictions will be re-imposed as of today as per a government decision to curb the surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) after the infection rate in the country hit all-time highs in recent days. The decision was made during the weekly Cabinet meeting, held via videoconference under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Government Spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrem said after the Cabinet’s meeting that health authorities keep a close watch on the cases of infection with COVID-19 at schools countrywide. “The health situation is generally satisfactory,” he affirmed during a press conference. There is a constant coordination among the ministries of Health, Education and Higher Education, as well as the Secretariat of the University Council, Kuwait University, and the Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, regarding the next steps needed in the coming stage, he pointed out. Mezrem recalled that the COVID-19 Ministerial Emergency Committee met last Thursday in the presence of Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Ali Al-Modhaf to explore ways for keeping the stability of the health situation at educational institutions.

Minister of Health Dr Khaled Al-Saeed had briefed the meeting on the latest developments of the health situation on the local, regional and international scales, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Mansour Al-Sabah who doubles as acting foreign minister and minister of state for Cabinet affairs. The fast-spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus pushed the daily rates of infections and hospitalizations to record highs, putting strains on the country’s health system, Saeed told the Cabinet members.

After mulling the latest recommendations of the COVID-19 Ministerial Emergency Committee, the Cabinet decided to bring down the attendance rate at government institutions to no more than 50 percent according to the requirements of each institution and in coordination with the Civil Service Commission. The Civil Service Commission has to set out the necessary rules of work and the working hours in a flexible way. The decision will be reviewed regularly in the light of the pandemic situation. The private sector is required to bring down the attendance rate to the least possible percentage. The Cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to make sure that staffers of kindergartens and children clubs are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and committed to the health precautions. Furthermore, meetings, conferences and internal courses can be only held via video link as of today. Also, state departments providing service to applicants have to do so online; otherwise, an appointment beforehand is required via Meta Portal, Sahel App, and similar mediums provided abidance by health precautions.

50 percent

Furthermore, all means of mass transportation must limit the number passengers to 50 percent of their total respective occupancies while applying the health precautions, notably putting on facemasks. In the meantime, the Public Authority for Sport must make sure that spectators at sports events are fully vaccinated in keeping with the Cabinet Decree No 1058/2021. Finally, the government committee on following up the health precautions has to ensure that all staffers and clients of barbershops, salons and health spas are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Cabinet also went on urging all citizens and residents to fully adhere to the instructions and requirements issued by the health authorities, the most important of which is getting the booster dose of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, wearing a mask, and avoiding gatherings.

In response to the Cabinet decisions, Mezrem noted that public transportation, like buses, must abide by the 50 occupants’ rule, noting at the same time that such decision does not apply to small vehicles or taxis. In the meantime, Mezrem called on the public not to pay attention to rumors and inaccurate news reports, noting that “so far, the option of a lockdown has not been discussed.” — KUNA

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