Coronavirus in KuwaitKuwait

Health ministry has final say on lifting Farwaniya lockdown

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti government spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrim said Thursday the decision to end the complete lockdown in Farwaniya is still awaiting the assessment of the Ministry of Health. “The decision depends on the health authorities analyzing the readings of data related to the developments of the situation of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is what happened before ending the lockdowns in Hawally, Mahboula, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Khaitan areas,” he pointed out.

Mezrim, also head of the government communication center, made the press remarks at Al-Seif Palace Thursday evening after a virtual Cabinet meeting. Asked on the five stages of gradual return to normal life, he said this week, the third week of phase 2, will see the health authorities assessing the possibility of the country moving to phase 3. Mezrim noted that each stage last for three weeks. He advised the citizens to avoid travelling abroad as a precaution against the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide.

School year

Meanwhile, Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Saud Al-Harbi announced on Thursday concluding the scholastic year (2019-2020) due to ramifications of the novel coronavirus. The remaining part of the curriculum of the year’s second half will be integrated into the first chapter of the next academic year (2020-2021), virtually effective as of October 4 — after modifying the curriculum, the minister declared. The announcement came during a news conference following a Cabinet session held as part of state efforts and follow-up on repercussions of the pandemic, particularly at the teaching level. Pre-school pupils, students of elementary and intermediate levels will be promoted to the higher classes. Those who do not have grades due to absence are entitled to be enrolled for the second round of examinations.

As to the high school level, students who desire to improve their grades can re-enroll in the scholastic year. As to class 12, the remaining period of the second semester was set at six weeks, the minister said, adding that curricula were amended in tandem with the complementary study period, due between August 9 and September 17, and that will be via electronic means. Minister Harbi said students’ assessment will be on weekly basis through interaction and virtual presence at the set educational website. As to the university level, the minister said it was decided to resume the remaining duration of the second semester as of August 9 until October 6, with teaching to be done online as well. The summer semester will be between October 11 and November 17. The next academic year (2020-2021) will kick off on November 29, 2020 and proceed until March 17, 2021. The next virtual semester will begin on March 28, 2021, until July 13 and the summer one will be from August 1 until September 21, 2021.

Anti-coronavirus precautions

The Cabinet held an extraordinary virtual session on Thursday, under chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, urging citizens and expatriates to continue to abide by precautions against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Following the session, Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh said the prime minister briefed the ministers about his meeting with His Highness the Amir, late on Wednesday, during which His Highness the Amir expressed satisfaction at the government efforts for facing the novel coronavirus. Saleh quoted the premier as saying during the session that His Highness the Amir, during the meeting with him, advised for pursuing with efforts and putting all resources at disposal of sparing the citizens effects of the virus at all levels, particularly in the educational sector so that students would be able to continue education.

Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Humoud Al-Sabah informed the ministers about the coronavirus developments at the regional and international levels, along with statistics compiled by the World Health Organization. He also briefed the executives about the local health status, namely figures of cases according to regions and nationalities, in addition to counts of recoveries and deaths as well as critical cases in intensive care units. The minister of health noted in his presentation that deaths stabilized, with mounting cases of recoveries, however cases among citizens remained high due to mingling. The Cabinet renewed the call upon the public to adhere to the health guidelines, set by the health authorities to protect themselves against infection with the virus.

Latest developments

The ministers followed up on latest developments with respect of treatment, precautions and logistical services related to the combat against the virus, examining recommendations by the ministerial emergency commission against the coronavirus, regarding the plans for completing the teaching year. They were informed about assessment reports, presented by the ministry of education, Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training for resuming the academic year 2019-2020 and start the next year 2020-2021. Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Saud Al-Harbi presented details of the plans and programs regarding the teaching status in both the public and private sectors. He lauded the plans that have been prepared in light of the changing facts resulting from ramifications of the health crisis, noting that they would be regularly reviewed.

In the meantime, Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan and the Director General of the Public Authority for Industries briefed the ministers about efforts to increase production of anti-coronavirus materials, noting that a strategic stockpile of these supplies has been secured. The minsters examined a report by the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait Mohammad Al-Hashel, who doubles as the chairman of the higher economic boosting commission, about the scheme for shoring up the national economy, in the shadow of the virus crisis. — KUNA

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