CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #60: Kuwait lifts Partial Curfew on the first day of Eid

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #60: Kuwait lifts Partial Curfew on the first day of Eid

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

-Steve Maraboli-

Today marks the 425th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. As we enter a new month, we formally enter the Ramadan season. COVID-19 cases in the country continue to decline. Even so, we need to be reminded to still follow health protocols to avoid getting infected with the deadly virus. In this Ramadan season, let us continue to pray to our Almighty that the pandemic will soon end. Curfew hours were lifted by the Kuwaiti government as COVID-19 cases in the country show a downward trend. The Ministry of Health still reminds the general public to practice utmost precaution despite the recent lifting of curfew and decline in COVID-19 Cases. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor COVID-19 data so that they can modify policies that will able to stop the virus spread as well as help the gradual re-opening of the economy.

The Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) recently announced nine hundred and seventy-eight (978) newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. This brings to the total of 286,046 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The MoH also reported 7 new COVID-19 related deaths bringing to a total of 1,652 fatalities. Nonetheless, the MoH positively reported that there are 1,250 new recoveries from COVID-19. This brings to the total of 270,883 COVID-19 recoveries. As of today’s date, there are 13,511 total active cases in the country, and still hopeful that they will recover from COVID-19.


Highlights on the decisions made by the Council of Ministers

As of 1 a.m. on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, a nationwide partial curfew has been lifted. The following decisions will be implemented on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, with a commitment to observe the Ministry of Health’s health standards and instructions.

  • Until further notice, all commercial operations will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day, except for pharmacies, supermarkets, and parallel markets, as well as their services, medical and catering supplies, restaurants, cafés, and maintenance services.
  • Only the vaccinated people will be allowed into cinemas and theatres.
  • Pickup and delivery are the only options for restaurants and cafés; no dining in is permitted.
  • The percentage of the employees in public service industries should not exceed 60% of total attendance. As a result, each government agency selects an acceptable number of personnel that does not exceed the aforementioned percentage. If extra workers are needed, coordination with the Civil Service Commission is required. The rulings will be implemented beginning Monday, May 17, and will last until further notice.
  • Direct commercial flights to and from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been suspended till further notice, except for cargo planes.
  • Entry permits for citizens of Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been suspended, either directly or indirectly, unless they have spent at least 14 days in another country until further notice.

Highlights of Weekly Meeting of Kuwait Cabinet Officials

Weekly Meeting of Kuwait Cabinet Officials | This photo was taken from: Kuwait Times

Aside from the aforementioned decisions taken by the Council of Ministers, they’ve also discussed the recent developments of the COVID-19 situation in Kuwait. The Council of Ministers addressed the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw fewer deaths and a 94.6 percent recovery rate.

Cabinet officials also expressed gratitude to citizens and residents of the country for complying with the partial lockdown restrictions, urging them to continue following the health standards, refraining from mingling and conducting gatherings, and working together to combat the pandemic and restore normalcy.


Kuwait lifts Partial Curfew on the first day of Eid

Ramadan | This photo was taken from: history.com

On Monday, Kuwait’s Cabinet announced that the partial curfew enforced across the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be lifted on Eid Al-Fitr’s first day. At 1:00 a.m., the decision will take effect. This was recently announced by the government’s spokesman, Tariq Al-Mezrim. The partial curfew will conclude at 1:00 a.m., according to Tariq Al-Mezrim. on the first day of Eid on Thursday, stating that the country is on its way to gradually reopening various sectors.


Cinemas and Theatres prepare for their reopening

 

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Cinemas and theatres prepare for its reopening for vaccinated people only. The Cabinet confirmed Monday that cinemas and theaters would be permitted to reopen only for those who have been vaccinated, as long as customers carefully comply with all health requirements such as wearing face masks and maintaining a two-meter physical distance.


Cabinet approves holding Eid prayers for 15 minutes

Women in Ramadan | This photo was taken from: Shutter Stock

The Cabinet agreed to perform Eid prayers for 15 minutes only, in full accordance with all health regulations. Similarly, it was also announced by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs declared that Taraweeh prayers and Qiyaam in the mosques will be for men only.


Dine-in at restaurants and cafes still prohibited

Dine-in at restaurants | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

The council of ministers agreed to partly reopen restaurants and cafés but to keep the dining ban in place. Customers will be allowed to receive their orders in person but without sitting inside. Takeout and delivery services will continue to be offered by restaurants and cafés.


Ban on expat entry continues

Expat worker | This photo was taken from: The Times of Israel

Kuwait’s Cabinet agreed on Monday to keep the ban on all expatriates from entering the country. Diplomatic and medical personnel, as well as domestic workers and first-degree relatives of Kuwaiti nationals, are the only exceptions.

It has also decided to suspend all commercial flights with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, except for cargo flights, owing to the current pandemic scenario in those countries.

Unless they spend 14 days in a third country before arriving in Kuwait, nationals of these four South Asian nations will be barred entry, irrespective of whether they arrive on a direct or transit flight. This policy is in effect until further notice.

Kuwait International Airport is currently operating at only 10% of its capacity, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Expatriates and Kuwaitis are allowed to leave Kuwait International Airport, but they must register on the Kuwait Mosafer travel platform, and citizens must be vaccinated.


PCR Test mandatory for arrivals – DGCA

Kuwait International Airport Lobby | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation yesterday denied allegations that it has exempted some passengers from taking the PCR COVID-19 test while arriving in the country. The agency said on its Twitter account that every passenger arriving in Kuwait through the Kuwait International Airport must conduct the PCR test to confirm they are free of the COVID-19.

Similarly, the Ministry of Health stated in their letter sent to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that the price of PCR Test should now exceed KD 20 at any certified lab in Kuwait.


Indian COVID-19 Variant is now “variant of concern,” says WHO

COVID-19 Situation at India | This photo was taken from: The New York Times

In the midst of a worsening crisis in India, the World Health Organization stated that the B.1.617 variant (also known as the Indian variant), which has been spreading across the country, has been identified as a “variant of concern”. Scientists don’t know much about the variant, but they’re concerned that it’s contributing to the spike of COVID-19 infections across the country, which experts believe are likely undercounted.

The variant was initially discovered in India at the end of 2020, but it only became more frequent in March. Since then, it’s been discovered in 32 nations, including the US and the UK. The WHO’s conclusion comes as an increasing number of medical experts join a chorus of criticisms of the Indian government’s response and calls for nationwide restrictions to try to reduce the tragic death toll.

Although the official figures are already frightening – over 350,000 new COVID-19 infections every day this month and about 250,000 overall deaths – other experts believe the data are grossly underestimated, estimating that India would see over 1 million deaths by August.

Experts warn, however, that it’s yet unclear how much of a role B.1.617 has played in India’s dramatic increase in cases. They point to a perfect storm of public health failures in recent months, such as allowing massive political gatherings and religious holidays.


U.S. FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for 12-15 years old

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine | This photo was taken from: Washington Post

The U.S. FDA on Monday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for 12- to 15- years old, a significant milestone in the nation’s gradual recovery from the pandemic and a benefit to tens of millions of American families yearning for a return to normalcy.

The approval comes after weeks of waiting for parents who have been pondering how to live their lives when only the adults in their family are vaccinated. It removes a barrier to school reopenings by lowering the risk of transmission in classrooms, allowing millions of teenagers to participate in summer camps, sleepovers, and social gatherings.

Pfizer-BioNTech enlisted 2,260 individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 in a clinical study and gave them either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo three weeks apart. The researchers found 18 cases of symptomatic coronavirus infection in the placebo group but none in the vaccination group, showing that the vaccination was very efficient in avoiding symptomatic disease.

The vaccination seemed to be safe for these kids, with side effects equivalent to those reported in 16 to 25-year-old study participants. Fevers were somewhat more prevalent among vaccinated 12- to 15-year-olds, with around 20% having fevers compared to 17% in the older age group.

According to Dr. Bill Gruber, the trend toward higher fevers at younger ages was similar to findings from a previous study. The company is continuing to test trial participants for the COVID-19 every two weeks and testing for antibodies generated in response to natural infection in order to gain information on potential silent infections.

Vaccinating children protects others in the community, including those who aren’t immune to the vaccination and those with compromised immune systems. In March, Pfizer-BioNTech began testing the vaccine in children aged 5 to 11, and this month, the study was expanded to include even younger children, ages 2 to 5. The next step for the firm is to examine babies aged 6 months to 2 years old. If the trial findings are positive, the companies plan to seek Emergency Use Authorization from the US FDA in September to deliver the vaccine to children aged 2 to 11.


Learn to live with the Coronavirus

Man getting vaccinated | This photo was taken from: freepik.com

There was anticipation early in the pandemic that the world would attain herd immunity, the point at which the COVID-19 will no longer have enough hosts to propagate easily. But, more than a year later, the virus is wreaking havoc in India with a terrifying second wave and spreading through Asia and Latin America.

Experts now believe that the virus is mutating too swiftly, that new more contagious variants are spreading too swiftly, and that immunizations are taking too long to achieve herd immunity anytime soon. That means if that if the virus continues to spread across most of the world, it is on its way to becoming chronic, posing a constant threat.

According to Dr. David Heymann, virus variations are tearing across regions where people meet in huge numbers with little or no pandemic protocols in place, such as wearing face masks and observing physical distance.

Future outbreaks will not be on the size of those ravaging India and Brazil, as per Dr. Heymann, as more people get the virus and gain some kind of immunity, and vaccination rates grow. Smaller outbreaks, which are less fatal but still a hazard, should be expected.

Although extremely effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed quickly, global distribution has been slow and uneven. Poorer countries confront significant logistical hurdles in distributing the vaccine doses that they do obtain, and vaccination hesitancy is a global concern. Experts warn that the world is vaccinating too slowly for there to be much prospect of ever becoming vaccinated.

“It may be endemic, but not in a life-threatening way. It may be more like what we see with young kids, a common cold-like disease.” Dr. Michael Merson stated a global health professor at Duke University and New York University.


Pandemic to be “far more deadly” this year, says WHO

Temperature check | This photo was taken from: Gulf News

The World Health Organization issued a stark warning on Friday, predicting that COVID-19’s second year will be “much more fatal.”

“Were on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

With the recent lifting of partial curfew across the country, we need to be reminded that we should adhere to health protocols. The partial curfew is not a signal about the end of the pandemic. It signals that we need to be more vigilant and more obedient to follow these health precautions. As the WHO said, COVID-19 in its second year is “far more deadly.”


Kuwait’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Kuwaitis lined up at vaccination centers | This photo was taken from: Financial Times

After additional supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Kuwait, the Ministry of Health began sending SMS messages to 330,000 citizens and expats inviting them to take the second dosage.

To further expedite the vaccination drive of the Ministry of Health, the ministry recently launched a field vaccination campaign as part of their second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

 

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You may watch the message of Dr. Basel Hamoud Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

 

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In lieu of this, the Ministry of Health started to expedite its vaccination in the following areas:

  • Al-Kout Malls

 

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  • Avenues Mall

 

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  • Al-Fanar Mall

 

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  • Al-Muhallab Mall

 

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The second phase of Kuwait’s COVID-19 vaccination drive includes providing vaccines to workers in commercial centers in the country. The campaign operates today at various malls and it is expected to finish providing the first dose of vaccination to about 10,000 people working in the mall.


Kuwait’s COVID-19 fight and gradual return to normal life

According to Dr. Basel Al-Sabah, the COVID-19 condition in Kuwait is likely to improve in the next months as the vaccination drive continues, leading to a probable breakthrough and reduction in the number of COVID-19 infections.

He advised everyone to wear facemasks and maintain a two-meter physical distance to avoid the spread of COVID-19, emphasizing that it was an important part of the battle.

Aside from that, Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdam Jaber Al-Ali affirmed that Kuwait now begins its gradual return to normal life. For the sake of citizens’ and expatriates’ health, the country will gradually return to normal.

He adds that the committee will soon make other decisions, such as convening a meeting with the Ministry of Health and the GCC ministers next week to kick off tourism.

“Our goal is to reach the stage of opening the land ports and airports, but there has to be some decision on the arrangements and procedures within a month,” Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdam Jaber Al-Ali noted.

 

To conclude our COVID-19 update, Kuwait has a total tally of 286,046 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the Philippines have 1,108,826 total COVID-19 cases with 59,897 total active cases. As of 10 May, 4 PM, the Department of Health announced additional 6,846 newly-reported cases, 93.7% of which are mild COVID-19 cases. Now that the Philippines breached the 1 Million mark on a total number of COVID-19 cases, the country is now in its full efforts to control the COVID-19 situation. Both countries are exerting their effort to impose health protocols and safeguard each live in their respective countries. As Kuwait now lifts the partial curfew measures, we must remain vigilant and obedient in following health protocols to avoid getting infected by COVID-19. Let us hope that the pandemic will soon end and have healthier years ahead of us.


MUST READ AND SHARE!

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CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #55: Celebrating Ramadan amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

 

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