CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #52: Hospital Situation at Kuwait Hospitals amidst COVID-19

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #52: Hospital Situation at Kuwait Hospitals amidst COVID-19

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

-Vivian Greene-

 

Today marks the 369th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. Today’s week, we’ll dive deep into the hospital situation at Kuwait hospitals amidst the recent wave of COVID-19 cases in the country. The threat of new variants is alarming as they can be spread faster among others and possessing a higher rate of fatality. With the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in lieu of the new variants detected, our Kababayans should remain vigilant and protect themselves to avoid getting infected with the deadly virus. Let us continue to adhere to health protocols being imposed by the government.

Kuwait’s Ministry of Health regularly monitors the COVID-19 case data amidst the recent surge in numbers and updates the general public for transparency.

The Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) recently announced one thousand three hundred and thirty-two (1,332) newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. This brings to the total of 210,855 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The MoH also reported 7 new COVID-19 related deaths bringing to a total of 1,179 fatalities. Nonetheless, the MoH confidently reported that there are 1,335 new recoveries from COVID-19. This brings to the total of 195,507 COVID-19 recoveries. As of today’s date, there are 14,169 total active cases in the country, and still hopeful that they will recover from COVID-19.


Eight children enter COVID-19 wards daily, says the source

Closeup of hand with IV tube | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

Every day, an average of eight children occupy the COVID-19 wards at Jaber Hospital, increasing from one to two children in recent months, according to health authorities.


KD 2.3 Billion healthcare expenditure

Healthcare | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

According to recent research by Fitch Solutions, Kuwait’s healthcare spending would reach KD 2.3 billion in 2021.

Kuwait’s overall healthcare spending is predicted to reach 2.3 billion dinars in 2021 and 2.6 billion dinars by 2025, according to a report released by Fitch Solutions.

As per the report, this percentage represents a 2.7% annual growth rate, noting that the private sector will drive long-term growth in healthcare costs in Kuwait, as the government increasingly partners with the private sector to alleviate some of the budget constraints of healthcare.

According to the report, Kuwait is expanding its capacity to vaccinate the population against coronavirus, intending to vaccinate 80% of the country’s 4.3 million people by September. Kuwait has opened new vaccination centers, increasing the country’s capacity to vaccinate 20 thousand individuals per day, depending on the availability of different vaccines. Kuwait was providing 8.4 doses per 100 persons as of the 15th of this month, according to the data.

According to the report, based on current inoculation trends in Kuwait, vaccine coverage for the priority population will be achieved by April 2021, with the priority population group consisting of adults aged 65 and up, frontline healthcare workers, and those with chronic conditions.

Fitch Solutions noted that Kuwait’s protracted economic crisis will remain to jeopardize government expenditure of healthcare and cut the national budget, with government spending on healthcare estimated to expand by 4% annually to two billion dinars in 2021, compared to 3.5% in 2020.


People with chronic conditions and compromised immune systems likely evolve COVID-19 virus variants

Doctors putting an oxygen mask on the patient | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

Patients with cancer and other immune-system-challenging diseases may be incubators of mutant viruses, according to mounting data.

Experts claimed there’s only one good theory for how this occurred: At some time the virus may have infected someone with a poor immune system, enabling it to adapt and evolve for months within the person’s body before being spread to others.

If true, the assumption has complications for vaccination programs, particularly in countries that have not yet started to vaccinate their populations. People with compromised immune systems – such as cancer patients – should be among the first to be vaccinated. The sooner that group is safeguarded, the less likely their bodies will be used as incubators for the world’s next powerful mutant.

“We should give the best shot we can, both literally and figuratively, to protect this population,” Dr. Lauring said.

He added that it might be complicated. Vaccines may not function effectively in these people for the same reason they don’t develop a robust immune response to the infection. As a result, they may need to be treated with monoclonal antibody shots as well.

Numerous studies have shown that the virus may survive for more than 8 months in immune-compromised patients, giving it plenty of time to evolve.

“If we look at several time points through that course of infection, and we look at the virus population in that patient, we see – every time – different variants popping up with a large turnover rate,” said Dr. Vincent Munster, a virologist.

If one of these variants which have gained significant mutation is passed on to another person, it may quickly spread through the population and appear to have appeared out of nowhere, as in the case of the variant that ravaged the United Kingdom, and possibly others detected in South Africa and Brazil.

“We learned from the vaccines that antibodies matter. It’s very important to keep an eye on immune-suppressed people, who don’t have fully functional immune systems,” said Dr. Paul Duprex.

Dr. Lauring pointed out that some people with weakened immune systems were being known to transmit other viruses over long periods of time. He and the other professionals highlighted that, despite the risks, people with compromised immune systems should not be stigmatized or blamed. Instead of assisting, the priority should be on reducing their viral exposure.

“Let’s get the vaccines into people, let’s do good distancing, let’s do good masking. Everything that we can do to stop the virus from spreading is really very important,” Dr. Duprex concluded.


No detected cases of blood clotting after receiving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab, says Vaccine Technical Committee

Dr. Khaled Al-Saeed | This photo was taken from: Kuwait Local

No symptoms or blood clots as side effects were reported after receiving AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab, said by Dr. Khaled Al-Saeed, member of Vaccine Technical Committee at Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health announced that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will remain to be used as part of the COVID-19 immunization program, adding that no unanticipated adverse effects have been reported among individuals who have taken the AstraZeneca vaccine in Kuwait.

The officials emphasized that no incidents of blood clots or deaths linked to COVID-19 vaccines have been confirmed in Kuwait and that a working team is monitoring the vaccine’s adverse effects through rigorous and sustained follow-up of vaccine safety and assessing adverse effects that are reported, followed up, and validated according to world standards.

Moreover, Dr. Al-Saeed also reported that more than 400,000 people in Kuwait have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He urged everyone including domestic workers to register to receive the vaccine against the COVID-19.

In lieu of this, the Ministry of Kuwait will also launch mobile vaccination clinics at cooperative and governorates soon to cater to more individuals who want to get vaccinated.

To ensure vaccine efficacy, the Ministry of Health is taking proactive steps to provide newly approved vaccines for emerging COVID-19 strains.

Aside from the existing vaccines in the country, MOH assured the public that the Johnson&Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Kuwait soon.


Petitions against the partial curfew, rejected by Court

Ministry of Court | This photo was taken from: Kuwait Times

Two petitions contesting the government’s order to impose a partial curfew to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic were dismissed by the lower court yesterday. The health minister is entitled by law to prescribe such steps to control the spread of dangerous diseases, according to the court.

The court, on the other hand, urged authorities to reconsider the restrictions and measures regularly in order to strike a balance between serving public interests, ensuring society’s safety, and securing the health system on the one hand, and preserving individual’s social and economic rights on the other. The court expressly requested that authorities review the curfew’s length and travel limitations.


41,000 got vaccinated in Kuwait

Infographic | This photo was taken from: Twitter: National Bank of Kuwait

According to the Ministry of Health, the most recent number of registered citizens and expats who got vaccinated is around 411,000 individuals.

Similarly, the Kuwait Olympic Committee has urged all sportsmen in the state to Mishref on Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM, to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

To those who want to get registered and get vaccinated against COVID-19, you may visit https://moh.gov.kw

 

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Launching of Mobile Clinics

Pfizer-BioNTech is prepared to deliver to Kuwait. The ninth batch of COVID-19 vaccination was released on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Bader, the assistant undersecretary for Medicines and Medical Supplies at the MOH, recently affirmed that the ministry contracted with the international company directly. Dr. Al-Bader emphasized that the ministry constantly and carefully monitors the vaccines’ safety after their use. This is in addition to following up on information and data on the safety, efficacy, and quality of vaccines locally and globally. He also assures that the ministry takes the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the citizens and residents.

Dr. Al-Bader urged everyone to register at their vaccination platform while taking all preventive measures. Avoid contact with others and ensure the implementation of the physical distancing.

To further expedite the vaccination roll-out to citizens and expatriates, the Ministry of Health will speed up and launch mobile clinics across the nation. This is to cater to the most number of individuals who wish to get vaccinated as the COVID-19 vaccine supplies continuously arrive in the country.

People lining up for COVID-19 vaccination | This photo was taken from: Gulf News

In order to accelerate the vaccination phase, Kuwait’s Ministry of Health intends to open a mobile clinic service this week across the country to provide COVID-19 vaccines.


AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh risks, says WHO

 

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Is it okay to vaccinate with two different vaccines?

The answer is NO.

While the need to speed up COVID-19 vaccination is growing, and there is a debate about which vaccines are more effective than others, two specialized doctors have confirmed that inoculating one person with two different vaccines may harm his health.

“So far, there is no incident related to vaccination of a person with two different doses. There are no data or results of studies related to this matter,” Dr. Ahmad Al-Otaibi said.

Even though the United Kingdom has begun a study of mixing these vaccines, he advised not to provide various dosages to an individual in Kuwait, although no data or results have been released so far.

Dr. Maytham Khaja emphasized that there is no proof that the vaccine type can be altered between the two doses and that it is preferable to use the same vaccine type.

“Up until now, most protocols depend on a single or two-dose system depending on the type of vaccine used. There are no recommendations or scientific evidence that allow doses of different types to be given for the same person, which is in force in Kuwait,” Dr. Khaja concluded.


Authorized vaccines are safe and effective, Ministry of Health reaffirmed

The Ministry of Health reaffirmed the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccinations that have been licensed for use in the country.

The Ministry of Health also stated that individuals who received vaccinations saw no unanticipated adverse effects.

The WHO and the European Medicines Agency’s findings on the benefit and safety of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines were emphasized by the MOH’s team responsible for monitoring adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccinations. The team emphasized the need of continuing to monitor the health of those who received immunization in the country. The team stressed the importance of continuing to monitor vaccine safety in collaboration with specialist international agencies.

It revealed that no fatalities or blood clots linked to COVID-19 vaccinations had been recorded in the country.

It stated that the recorded adverse effects pose little risk to the health of those who received the vaccination, implying that they are likely and transient.

It stated that the side effects seen after immunization are to be expected and will last for a short time. It stated that when taking the vaccine, there would most likely be a reaction and response to the immune system.

The documented adverse effects pose no threat to the health of those who received the vaccine. These effects are to be expected, are transient, and will only last a short time.


Vaccine Hesitancy

Elderly man receiving vaccine dose | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

Despite the deployment of three vaccination clinics in the governorate – Naseem, Kairouan, and Jaber Al-Ahmad, Dr. Ali Al-Mutairi believes that rumors and the distribution of information from unauthorized sources are the reasons for people’s fear and hesitation to be vaccinated.

“The vaccination process is going on smoothly. The citizens and expatriates must cooperate with the Ministry of Health, and adhere to the health regulations to achieve community protection,” Dr. Al-Mutairi said.

“One year and a few months have passed since the pandemic started and it continues till date. The entire society must cooperate by registering for vaccination, stressing the world today unanimously agreed that vaccination is the only way to achieve immunity among individuals,” he indicated.

Al-Mutairi urged residents and expats in the governorate to register and schedule a vaccination appointment, emphasizing that, “everyone is the priority now after the elderly, people with diseases, and frontline workers,”


Returning to normal life

Kuwaitis walking in public spaces | This photo was taken from: Gulf News

With the current developments on the vaccination rollout across the country, the Ministry of Health is now confident that Kuwait is now on its path towards normalcy. The state is now on its way to returning to normal life and it includes the reopening of schools in September.

Dr. Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Health Minister, indicated yesterday that life in Kuwait will return to normal in September, with all schools reopening after two million individuals are expected to get vaccinated. According to the MOH, over 400,000 people have received the immunization so far, with have of Kuwaitis and a quarter of expats receiving it.

Sheikh Basel estimates that the number of vaccines will reach one million by the end of Ramadan (around mid-May) and double by September. He stated that after the conclusion of a government plan to vaccinate all teaching personnel, all schools will reopen in September. People who work in cooperative organizations, barbershops, salons, and banks will also be vaccinated in the near future.


The Philippines issued a travel ban on foreigners

Young passenger wearing face mask waiting to get onboard | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

As officials fight a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Philippines will shut its border to foreigners and cap the number of Filipinos who may enter the nation. The temporary limits are being implemented after the number of daily cases reached a seven-month high of 5,404, with experts predicting that the number will double by the end of March.

The majority of active cases are in Metro Manila, where targeted lockdowns, nighttimes curfew, and a stay-at-home directive for all minors are being employed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The government’s COVID-19 task force declared the restriction late Tuesday, and it goes into effect on March 20. Overseas Filipino Workers will be exempted, but passenger arrival will be capped to 1,500 per day, according to the statement.

The increase in infections has been attributed to a lack of adherence to health standards such as wearing a mask and face shield in public, as well as more infectious strains of the coronavirus.


KFH commends efforts to frontline heroes

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) conducted a visit to the heroes of the frontlines while fulfilling their patriotic duty as part of its continuous contribution to social responsibility. This initiative intends to honor their commitment to serving Kuwait and ensuring the safety of its citizens, as well as to recognize their critical role in the current extreme circumstances.

It also helps to motivate all frontline staff by highlighting the necessity of sticking to governmental procedures and measures, as well as obeying official authorities’ directives in this matter.

KFH underlined its groundbreaking national role in developing various social and national initiatives, such as supplying 30 automobiles to help the Ministry of Interior’s initiatives by serving the ministry’s personnel and workers while executing their duty towards the country and society.

KFH’s community activities in a variety of fields demonstrate the organization’s leadership in national and community responsibility, as well as the performance of its projects, which have been recognized by both global and local officials.

 

To wrap up our COVID-19 update, Kuwait has a total tally of 210,855 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the Philippines have 626,893 total COVID-19 cases with 53,479 total active cases. As of 10 May, 4 PM, the Department of Health announced additional 5,404 newly-reported cases, 92.4% of which are mild COVID-19 cases. Now that the Philippines breached a 7-month high of COVID-19 daily cases, the country is now in its full efforts to curb the COVID-19 situation. Some of the measures re-imposed by the Philippines are a travel ban, curfew hours, and stay-at-home policies. Both countries are exerting their effort to impose health measures and safeguard each live in their respective countries. As Kuwait continues to observe health protocols, all of us should not be complacent because the COVID-19 threat is still in the country. Let us hope that the pandemic will soon end and have healthier years ahead of us.


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