“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”
– David Nicholls –
Today marks the 327th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. The State of Kuwait is now experiencing an uptrend on COVID-19 daily reported cases. The government, especially the Ministry of Health is now on alert because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Kuwait is not the only country that’s experiencing the surge in daily reported cases.
Health experts acknowledge that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases was caused by the emerging coronavirus variant such as the U.K variant and South African variant.
To take control of the situation, the Kuwaiti government, especially the Ministry of Health closely monitors the COVID-19 case bulletin published every day.
Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait as of February 01, 2021
The photo was taken from: Instagram: Kuwait MOH
The Ministry of Health of Kuwait reported 586 new COVID-19 cases with 545 new recoveries and no additional death. This brings to a total record of 165,843 confirmed cases. As of 01 February 2021, there are now 6,408 active COVID-19 cases with 54 serious cases.
Compared to last week’s data, the total COVID-19 confirmed new cases significantly increased. Total active cases and serious cases significantly increased as well. This implies that there is an uptrend in COVID-19 cases in the state.
Kuwait reinforce COVID-19 Restrictions
In view of the recent assessment of the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Cabinet decided to reinforce COVID-19 restrictions to curb the infection.
On 04 February, the government said that all commercial activities from 8 in the evening to 5 in the morning. Shopping malls, restaurants, and cafe halls will be close too. Health centers, salons, and barbershops will remain close until further notice.
Empty Shopping Mall
This photo was taken from: Life in Kuwait Blog
However, the essential establishment will remain open such as pharmacies and grocery stores. Food deliveries, take-away, and drive-thru services from food establishments are allowed.
Talabat Food Delivery Guy
This photo was taken from: LAFFAZ
Moreover, the government also stated that non-Kuwaitis are still banned from entering the country for two weeks starting Sunday, 07 February. First-degree Kuwaiti relatives and domestic staff are exempted from the ruling.
The Cabinet also decided to enforce institutional quarantine for a week on those passengers arriving in Kuwait starting from 21 February.
The government also ordered a halt on sports federations’ sports activities until further notice.
The Cabinet also reminded the general public that all gatherings are still banned from the country.
Lastly, the Ministry of Health reminded the public to adhere to the necessary health protocols. The Health Ministry urges the general public to refrain from going outdoors if it is not essential. However, if it is essential, the general public should always wear face masks and practice physical distancing.
With the recent reinforcement of restrictions, I hope that everybody will follow. Adherence to these rules will make it for us easy to walk towards our path to the new normal and curb the spread of COVID-19 in our country.
Travel Restrictions of Non-Kuwaiti Passengers
Passengers at Airport
This photo was taken from: www.xianhuanet.com
In lieu of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Kuwait government imposed travel restrictions for non-Kuwaiti passengers entering the state. The decision was part of their measures to curb the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The ban on foreign citizens and/or expatriates entering the State of Kuwait remains in effect until further notice, as per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
However, there are exemptions to the restrictions.
- First-degree family members of a Kuwaiti citizen
- Workers with Visa 20 (domestic workers) who took their flight by Belsalamah.
- Diplomats and their household workers
- Medical front-liners
A negative PCR Test must be obtained 72 hours before departure for Kuwait, and PCR testing for all passengers over the age of six will be administered at the airport upon entry.
Passenger arrivals in Kuwait are currently required to stay at the hotel for 7 days and then another 7 days home quarantine. They will be subjected to a PCR Test at the airport upon arrival in Kuwait, as well as another on the 6th day of hotel quarantine. Passengers are liable for the expense of their PCR tests.
The arrival of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The arrival of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine
This photo was taken from: Kuwait Times
On 02 February, the State of Kuwait finally received the 200,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccines. With the arrival of the vaccines in the country gives a glimmer of hope as this will help to combat coronavirus spread.
The Ministry of Health confirmed that 200,000 shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine had arrived in Kuwait. The vaccine from AstraZeneca needed to be maintained at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.K. Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have authorized the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for people between the ages of 18 and up.
Also, the vaccine was certified by the World Health Organization and Gulf Health Council (GHC) for the production of COVID-19 vaccines.
I hope that the recent arrival of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country will help the country to curb the spread of coronavirus infections among its citizens and expatriates.
Philippine Embassy in Kuwait’s Mobile Passport Extension-Only Service
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait reminds all Filipino expatriates who are holding expired passports or residence visas to proceed and walk-in to Kuwait Disabled Sports Club this coming 05-06 February to avail of the renewal or extension services of the embassy.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait provided Mobile Passport Extension-Only Services to fellow Filipinos who urgently needed to renew their visas in Kuwait. The Mobile Passport Extension-Only Services will operate from 8 AM onwards every Friday and Saturday of February 2021.
The Philippine Embassy of Kuwait issued few reminders to fellow Filipinos before going to the site.
- DO NOT APPLY for passport extension if you will travel outside Kuwait
- FILL OUT IN ADVANCE the Passport Extension Application Form
- Bring your original and photocopy of your current passport and Kuwait Civil ID
- Prepare an exact amount of KD6.500
- Wear face masks and practice physical distancing
- IF experiencing and of the COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT APPLY for passport extension, STAY HOME, and SEEK medical help.
- DO NOT BUY from illegal street food vendors
However, to those who are not qualified to extend their passport because it is not yet expired, the embassy advises to apply for the extension over the next weekends of February.
Filipinos in Kuwait queued up to extend/renew their passports
This photo was taken from: Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
For the first weekend of the PH Embassy in Kuwait‘s Mobile Passport Extension-Only Service, about 2,000 overseas Filipinos in Kuwait congregated to Kuwait Disabled Sports Club Track in Hawally Area.
During the first two days of the mobile service, the Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait checked recently on the applicants as well as volunteers from Filipino community groups in Kuwait. With the recent mobile service, Filipinos will now have peace of mind thinking about losing their jobs due to their expired passport validity.
International Arrival Process for Returning Overseas Filipino Workers
In view of the recent coronavirus resurgence, several countries are implementing tight travel restrictions. Hence, the Philippines issued guidelines regarding the process of returning OFWs in the Philippines. You may refer to the following photos below:
These photos were taken from: Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
The COVID-19 resurgence is evident around the world. In fact, in the Philippines, they’ve recorded a slight increase in their daily COVID-19 reported cases. As of 4 PM of 01 February 2021, the Department of Health published a COVID-19 case bulletin which states the following. There are 1,658 new COVID-19 confirmed cases with 27 new recoveries and 58 new deaths. So far the country reported a total tally of 527,272 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 28,891 active COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, the Department of Health hasn’t reported any existing case of the new COVID-19 variant which are the U.K. variant and South African variant. This means that the COVID-19 resurgence is not yet felt in the country.
Despite the COVID-19 resurgence, both Kuwait and the Philippine government are doing their best to take control of the COVID-19 cases by implementing stringent measures. We should remain vigilant on the developments of coronavirus variants and the vaccine status around the world. As individuals, we must adhere to the health protocols being enforced by the government for us to avoid contracting the virus.
Growing concerns on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and South African Coronavirus Variant
Health worker getting vaccinated against COVID-19
This photo was taken from: USA Today
It is great news to hear that more than 90 million individuals around the globe have received their COVID-19 vaccine shot. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, only 25 individuals get vaccinated. It is alarming to hear such news because sub-Saharan Africa has a population of one billion people.
Health experts are growing concerned with the slow inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa, especially that there was a South African variant detected in the region. According to the recent study conducted, it was found out that the South African variant detected is highly infectious and it is less responsive to the developed coronavirus vaccines.
With the growing concerns on the emerging coronavirus variant, the supply for COVID-19 vaccines will not be enough for all to keep the population protected against the threat of the virus.
In South Africa, where the virus mutation was detected, the country only secured and received 22.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for its 60 million populations. The same scenario happens to other countries that are left behind from vaccine procurements to inoculate their population.
Even in the best-case scenarios, there will not be enough vaccines for everybody in the globe until 2023 if production continues at its current pace.
Assistant Director Andrea Taylor of Duke Global Health Innovation Center
This photo was taken from: Renegade Inc.
“This idea that no one is safe until everyone is safe is not just an adage, it is really true,” said Assistant Director Andrea Taylor of Duke Global Health Innovation Center.
The message here is that if society fails to prevent the virus from spreading in certain places, it will continue to evolve in ways that may render all vaccinations ineffective, potentially putting vaccinated individuals at risk once more.
Fake Coronavirus Vaccine
This photo was taken from: European Pharmaceutical Review
However, in China, they have arrested more than 80 individuals who claim to produce and sold more than 3,000 fake COVID-19 vaccines across the country. It is such bad news to read amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic where all are trying their best to produce an effective vaccine but exploitative people are paving its way and have the guts to produce fake coronavirus vaccine.
COVID-19 Pandemic is such trying times. All of us are experiencing difficulties in adjusting to the new normal and living with the effects of previous lockdowns. Despite these hardships, we don’t have the right to be opportunistic and take advantage of others.
Producing a fake coronavirus vaccine has a serious implication. It might cause severe side effects if injected. Also, the hard-earned vaccine confidence by the general public will be wasted because of the fake vaccine that has been sold across China.
Pandemic Situation at South Africa
This photo was taken from: Bloomberg
All viruses, the same ones that cause COVID-19, evolve into new forms or variants on a regular basis. These minor genetic changes occur as the virus replicates itself to spread and survive.
For the majority of people who become afflicted, there is no indication that the South African strain causes more severe illness. People, who are elderly or have comorbidities, as in the original version, are at the greatest risk. However, there are fears that it will spread more quickly and that vaccine will not be as useful in combating it.
The virus’ spike protein – the element that enables the virus to penetrate human cells – has undergone several modifications. It’s also the part that vaccines are focused on, which is why scientists are worried about these mutations.
The recent findings of AstraZeneca’s clinical trial are alarming to the health experts because only a 10.4% efficacy rate was posted against mild to moderate COVID-19 cases caused by the South African variant.
Despite the alarming developments on COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and recent mutations of coronavirus variant, some countries began to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to their citizens in hope that it will give the most protection against contracting the virus.
Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong began vaccinating their citizens using COVID-19 vaccines in hope that this will be the key to end the pandemic.
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