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New COVID cases top 4,500 despite 82% vaccination rate

One MP, several Assembly employees test positive for coronavirus

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The health ministry yesterday reported 4,548 new coronavirus cases as the pandemic continued to spread, despite an 82-percent vaccination rate announced by the ministry. National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said he declined a request by the health ministry to suspend Assembly sessions, adding that at least one lawmaker and a “large number” of Assembly employees have tested positive.

The health ministry also said the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units rose to 17, while those receiving treatment at hospitals increased to 200. With the number of cases detected yesterday, Kuwait has reported close to 30,000 cases since the start of the month, with the infection rate climbing to as high as 12.9 percent.

Kuwait currently has 28,466 active cases, a sharp hike from 3,467 cases at the start of January. There were only 272 active cases at the start of December, according to official figures. The ministry said in a statement yesterday that 568,000 people have already taken the third booster dose. As many as 3.35 million people or 85.4 percent have taken one dose and 3.23 million, 82.4 percent, have taken two doses.

Meanwhile, a special Assembly session demanded by opposition MPs was not held yesterday because no Cabinet minister showed up, as ministers are in home quarantine after the health minister tested positive last week. Ghanem said yesterday he prevented some lawmakers from entering the Assembly chamber because they did not have a negative PCR test result, adding that no MP or employee will be allowed into the Assembly chamber without a negative PCR test result.

MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said he was prevented from entering the Assembly chamber because the result of his PCR test did not come out. The speaker however insisted that he only applied the law and will continue to do so. Ghanem added the Assembly will hold a special session today to debate a number of draft laws on creating jobs for Kuwaitis, and amendments to the audiovisual law.

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