By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The number of members of parliament who have tested positive for the coronavirus increased to eight after three new lawmakers said they are infected with COVID-19. The new MPs are Safa Al-Hashem, Mohammad Al-Dallal and Mubarak Al-Hajraf. All the three MPs made the announcement on their Twitter accounts. All 50 MPs and an unspecified number of Assembly staff will be tested for the disease on Saturday as per instructions by the health ministry, which requires that seven days should have passed since any contact took place to ensure accurate results.
Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said on Monday that at least five MPs had tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the Assembly office has decided to postpone this week’s session till next week and only healthy MPs will be allowed to attend. MP Hashem strongly criticized the lawmaker who attended last week’s three sessions “despite knowing they had been infected with the disease”.
The new developments came as the Cabinet decided to postpone moving to phase five, the final stage of returning to normal life, until further notice amid a sharp increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Health Ministry spokesman Abdullah Al-Sanad however denied Kuwait is witnessing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that the country is still battling the first wave.
Meanwhile, the Amiri Diwan confirmed yesterday that HH the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received veteran politician Ahmad Al-Khatib. The 93-year-old Khatib is a liberal politician who was one of the members who wrote the Kuwaiti constitution in 1961 and was elected to the National Assembly several times.
The Amiri Diwan published no details about the meeting, only saying it tackled topics that seek the benefit of the nation, adding that details of the meeting published on social media are untrue. MP Abdullah Fahhad said a state of optimism has prevailed after the meeting. Former liberal MP Saleh Al-Mulla said the meeting is very important in its timing and objectives.