“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.-
Today marks the 320th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. Our hope for the end of this pandemic begins as the Kuwait government approves emergency use authorization to distribute AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine. Despite of the threats from coronavirus variants, we will always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As we continue to hope for the end of the pandemic, the Kuwait government is here with us as they adjust their protocols every week. Kuwait’s Ministry of Health is closely monitoring its COVID-19 cases bulletin and reports to the public for transparency.
Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait as of January 25, 2021
The photo was taken from: Instagram: Kuwait MOH
The Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) posted four hundred and ninety-two (492) new COVID-19 cases. This brings to the total of 161,777 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Ministry of Health also reported 2 new COVID-19 deaths bringing to the total of 954 deaths. However, The health ministry positively reported that there are 513 new recoveries from COVID-19. This brings to the total of 154,766 COVID-19 recoveries. As of today’s date, there are 6,057 total active cases in the state, and still hopeful that they will recover from COVID-19.
Compared to last week’s data, the total COVID-19 confirmed new cases seem to decline significantly. Also, the number of COVID-19 recoveries increased. However, total active cases of the country increased. With the decline on the tally of COVID-19 cases and the EUA of AstraZeneca vaccine, we should not be complacent. We should follow standard health protocols religiously to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Kuwait Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah
This photo was taken from: Gulf Times
Kuwait Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah reminded the public that the COVID-19 Pandemic crisis is not yet over. The Prime Minister understands that the pandemic severely impacted the economy that’s why they are taking precautionary measures to balance the economy and the health well-being of the society.
The Kuwaiti government re-implement some stringent precautions after detecting 2 cases of new coronavirus variant coming from United Kingdom. In lieu with this, airport security and precautions has been tightened.
To curb the spread of the virus, the Kuwait Prime Minister advised the general public to refrain from non-essential travels. He also warned the public that non-adherence to these health protocols will push them to re-implement tougher restrictions against COVID-19.
40 people got infected after social event
But despite of numerous reminders from the Kuwait government, there are people who are ignoring these constant reminders about the virus threat.
Kuwaitis wearing face mask
This photo was taken from: Kuwait Times
On 30 January 2021, Al-Qabas reported that despite the health ministry’s warnings to prevent gatherings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, some people disobeyed the warnings, and as a result, 40 people were infected with the virus after joining a social event.
This led to high infection rates, especially among the elderly. Officials from the Ministry of Health have stated that the lack of adherence to health protocols has serious health risks for people and those who come into contact with them.
This is most definitely what happened a few days earlier, when the virus spread to 40 people after they attended a social gathering. As per the MOH’s COVID-19 Case Bulletin, some of them were admitted to intensive care as a result of COVID-19 complications.
Health authorities stressed that there are too many social gatherings which contributed to the relatively high infection rates for the month of January, in particular with the lack of adherence to health protocols among citizens and expatriates.
Entertainment Centers and Play Areas remain close
Disinfection of Amusement Park’s Ride
This photo was taken from: Arab Times
In view of the recent detections of new COVID-19 variant in the country, the Kuwait authorities decided to halt the reopening of play areas and entertainment centers.
Aside from that, the decision of reopening these entertainment establishments was criticized by few sectors of the country.
The education sector chastised the decision to allow the opening of entertainment centers and games in lieu of the continued closure of schools and nurseries, particularly as the latter are better equipped to enforce health initiatives to safeguard children due to the presence of specialists and educators.
The education sector emphasized that nurseries must be opened first, followed by entertainment centers, for a number of reasons, such as the importance of educational and psychological benefits to children’s health.
However, some owners expressed their disappointment with the postponement of reopening entertainment centers, citing a significant loss of revenue from paying employees to maintain the facility.
The owners stressed that the management of the reopened entertainment centers are ready to observe health protocols at all times. In addition, the park along with all the games and rides are disinfected before and after each use, and contactless payment methods are used.
Kuwait issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
This photo was taken from: Arab News Kuwait
Kuwait was the first country to ensure that everybody was vaccinated against COVID-19. Kuwait’s health situation is governing the state, with the hope that the state will emerge from this pandemic with the highest possible number of individuals vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, with the first batch scheduled to arrive in few days, as per Dr. Al-Bader, assistant undersecretary for Pharmaceutical & Food Supervision.
The EUA was released based on a thorough evaluation of all applicable scientific data and studies, and also a thorough assessment of the vaccine’s safety, efficacy, and quality.
Dr. Al-Bader stressed that the health ministry will closely track the vaccine’s safety after it is administered and will take all appropriate precautions to ensure public safety. He also announced that the first shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses would be sent to Kuwait in the coming days, helping to speed up the vaccination program.
Vaccination in Kuwait is a procedure that follows a set of guidelines and is taken out on a set schedule. However, since suppliers are reassessing the needs, vaccine shipments have been suspended around the world.
Updated Entry Restrictions on Foreign Nationals
NAIA Departure Lobby
This photo was taken from: Official Gazette
On 28 January 2021, the Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) issued an advisory that effective on 01 February 2021, foreign nationals are permitted to enter to the Philippines.
Kuwaitis and other foreign nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines, visa-free, provided that they will be travelling with their Filipino spouse/parent who is a former Filipino, subject to following rules:
- Hold a valid visa at the time of entry
- Have a pre-booked accommodations for at least seven (7) nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility
- Undertake COVID-19 testing on the 6th day from the date of arrival
- Be within the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and the date of entry
Overall, as of 25 January 2021, Kuwait has a total tally of 154,766 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 514,996 cases. Philippines posted 1,581 new COVID-19 cases that brings to a total active cases of 29,892. 84.3% of the active cases were mild cases. Also, the Department of Health happily reported 13 new recoveries, however, 50 individuals were lost due to COVID-19.
Both countries are constantly implementing health precautions to prevent the virus from spreading. Despite the relaxation of restrictions, they often remind the public to follow health protocols for their own protection. Each one of us should adhere with the health regulations implemented by the government because this is for our safety. There’s no room for complacency amidst COVID-19 Pandemic. That’s our contribution to reach the end of this COVID-19 Pandemic. Our hope is here because the vaccines are arriving. Let us continue to hope as we walk towards our path to normalcy.
COVID-19 Vaccines vs. Emerging COVID-19 Variants
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines
This photo was taken from: World Health Organization
Moderna and Pfizer have reported that their vaccines would need to be modified to combat the new variants. It’s an eye opening admission that the virus is evolving faster than previously thought, and that it may continue to evolve in ways that allow it to resist vaccines.
After vaccination, the British variant had no impact on the levels of immune responses that can inhibit the virus. However, with the South African variant, immune responses decreased six fold.
Such antibodies, however, remain above the protective thresholds, according to Moderna. Nevertheless, Moderna is now working on a new vaccine which could be used as a safeguard against the South African variant.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, stated that the company will produce a new variant-targeted vaccine in 6 weeks, though the timeframe for implementation will be determined by authorities.
However, the issue is that few countries around the world have invested in technologies that can detect new variants, effectively rendering them mutation-blind. In many countries, the speed of vaccines, which could potentially lead to herd immunity, has been sluggish, and several countries have not started vaccinating at all.
With the emerging COVID-19 variants makes us doubtful if the pandemic will be near to its end. However, the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the capacity to dynamically formulate vaccines against new variants, glimpse of hope to believe that everything will be overcome in due time. As of now, we should continue to adhere to health protocols being imposed so that we can somehow curb the spread of COVID-19 in the world.
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