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Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah shows the QR code in the digital vaccine certificate. – Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and KUNA

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received yesterday the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the national vaccination campaign at Kuwait Vaccination Center in Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishref. His Highness the Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Khaled Al-Saleh and the Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, who also took the second dose of the vaccine.

Sheikh Dr Basel said during the event that more than 20,000 people have already received the first dose of the vaccine in Kuwait, adding that after receiving the second dose, each individual will receive a report through SMS stating that they are vaccinated.

The health minister spoke to reporters yesterday covering the inauguration of Hall 6 at Kuwait International Fairgrounds, which is dedicated for people to receive their second dose. Sheikh Dr Basel revealed that nearly 250,000 people have already registered online to get vaccinated, further urging the entire population to do the same.

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah receives the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Dr Basel mentioned a project in cooperation with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, in order to issue digital vaccination certificate that will be linked with the Public Authority of Civil Information. The certificate shows that its holder has received the first and second doses, the minister said, adding that it comes with a QR code to be scanned at airports around the world for verification, adding that the code will be activated every 10 minutes to guarantee it remains valid.

In the meantime, Sheikh Dr Basel warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. “The situation in Kuwait is good to the point that many people think that the pandemic is over, but the truth is that it still exits around the world,” he said. He added that the quarantine periods were increased to three weeks in some countries, and recommended that people must remain cautious and wear masks, social distance and be careful about personal and society health.

His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah exits the vaccination center after receiving the second dose.

About handling the vaccines, Sheikh Dr Basel said the ministry trained health care providers to handle various types of vaccines, and that the electronic system was activated six months ago to avoid wasting vaccine quantities and mistakes that may occur. “We will not allow for mistakes to happen in vaccination similar to what happened in some countries, including one where one person received five vaccinations,” he indicated. He said that each vaccination hall has a capacity of up to 10,000 persons, but vaccination is linked to the availability of the vaccine, with new shipments arriving weekly.

When asked about the condition of having a vaccination certificate to enter the country, he said Kuwait has not yet stipulated having a vaccination certificate for arrivals, but authorities have already linked the digital certificate with ‘Mosafer’ app just in case any other country may require it.

The minister further noted that international organizations believe that the pandemic will remain until early 2022, and in case the entire world population is vaccinated, “we can say that the pandemic is over, and new infections will be treated as individual cases such as the case with other diseases like the Swine Flu.”

Source: Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Cabinet announced the closure of all ports and the suspended all commercial flights from 11 pm yesterday until Friday, Jan 1, 2021, after a new fast-spreading strain of coronavirus appeared in Britain. Kuwait on Sunday had banned passenger flights from Britain over the new strain of the virus.

Citizens and residents who arrived to Kuwait from the European Union and United Kingdom between Dec 11, 2020 and Dec 21, 2020 are required to undergo a PCR test on the fifth and tenth days since arrival. They are instructed to take the test at Jaber Hospital from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, and bring evidence of their return date with them.

 

Late Sunday, Saudi Arabia halted international flights and suspended entry through its land and sea ports for at least a week. The kingdom is “temporarily suspending all international flights – except in exceptional cases – for a period of one week, which can be extended by another week,” the official Saudi Press Agency said. “Entry to the kingdom through land and sea ports will also be suspended for a week, which can be extended by another week,” SPA added, citing the interior ministry.

The suspension does not apply to international aircraft currently in the kingdom, which will be allowed to leave, SPA said. Cargo into Saudi Arabia will only be permitted from countries where the new strain has not been identified as having broken out. The Gulf sultanate of Oman adopted similar measures. It “decided (on Monday) to ban entry and exit from the country through the various land, air and sea borders starting 1:00 am local time on Tuesday December 22 for a week”, the official Oman News Agency reported.

 

The decision was based on what “authorities in a number of countries announced regarding the emergence of a new COVID-19 strain”, it said, adding the suspension will not apply to cargo flights and vessels. The development comes after several European countries banned travel from Britain on Sunday as the UK government warned that a highly infectious new strain of the virus was “out of control”.

SPA said passengers who arrived in Saudi Arabia from Europe – or any country where the new strain was detected – starting Dec 8 will be required to self-isolate for two weeks, and undergo testing. Alarm bells are ringing across Europe – which last week became the first region in the world to pass 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 – after it appeared that a more infectious strain of the virus was raging in parts of Britain.

 

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Jordan too said it was banning all direct and indirect flights from the United Kingdom until Jan 3, according to a statement by Minister of State for Media Affairs Ali Ayed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday the Jewish state had implemented a “decision to close the country’s skies”, by preventing arrivals by most foreigners, although diplomats would be exempted.

Over 1.69 million people have died after contracting coronavirus since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. Several Gulf countries have in the past couple of weeks rolled out COVID-19 vaccination programs.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council – which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman – have so far recorded more than one million novel coronavirus cases, including over 9,000 deaths. Saudi Arabia’s death toll is highest among them at more than 6,000. But the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate. – Agencies

KUWAIT: Member of the higher advisory committee and vaccines committee at the health ministry Prof Khalid Al-Saeed said the first batch of coronavirus vaccines will arrive in Kuwait tomorrow or on Wednesday, adding that it includes around 150,000 doses enough for 75,000 individuals, as each person will get two shots. He said over 60,000 people have registered on the online vaccine platform.

Saeed said the first stage of inoculation will be to protect the most vulnerable, including frontliners such as doctors and nurses, the elderly and those who suffer from chronic diseases. He said pregnant women and children will be vaccinated later.

Saeed said the vaccine is safe and effective, noting that around 1.2 million people have been vaccinated around the world so far and no one had any complications that required hospitalization and there have been no deaths. He added there have been allergic reactions in a very few number of cases.

About the vaccination procedure for those registered on the platform, he said messages will be sent to them including the time they will receive the vaccine at the Mishref fairgrounds. When the person arrives, their temperature will be checked and social distancing will be maintained. Nurses will scrutinize every person’s information and they will get the vaccine in the left arm.

Saeed said the dose will be around 0.3 ml at room temperature at the time of administration. He said the vaccinated person will remain in the waiting room for between 15 to 20 minutes to make sure there are no allergic reactions. He said specialized doctors will supervise the vaccination process to deal with any emergency that may occur, in addition to having an emergency department at the site. He concluded that the process will be preceded by an awareness campaign. – Al-Jarida

KUWAIT: In a new court ruling seen as a victory to liberties in general and freedom of the press in Kuwait in particular, the felonies court chaired by Judge Abdullah Al-Othman confirmed that newspapers will not be indicted if they publish genuine news, even if the names of concerned officials are mentioned.

The criminal court exonerated an editor-in-chief for publishing the name of an engineer after an MP demanded to hold him to account through a parliamentary question, which was published by the paper. The court said newspapers cannot be held to account or convicted in cases of publishing official news, even if it mentions names, because it did not accuse anyone – rather it was reporting facts, Al-Qabas Arabic daily reported yesterday.

 

Lawyers and legal experts considered this ruling a new victory for freedom of expression, adding that the Kuwait judiciary gives journalistic and information freedom a high status and rejects muzzling writers who always seek to reveal the truth and serve public interest, away from any personal convictions or other goals, as responsible freedom is guaranteed by the law and the constitution.

Lawyers said the ruling explains that publishing names in newspapers is not considered defamation, and that conveying news with evidence is not a means of targeting anyone; it is rather to convey the truth. This is the role of the media, especially with regards to issues of public opinion.

They said the ruling relied on the role of the paper that published the news, and by publishing the name of the complainant, it only reported the truth and did not write the name by itself. The ruling stressed that the role of the paper is to report true news and this is what took place without any additions.

Lawyers reaffirmed that this ruling is a moral support for freedoms in Kuwait and an answer to all opinions that adopted the idea of limiting freedom of expression, or those who called for shackling the media and making it afraid of reporting facts to the readers as they are.

They insisted that enemies of democracy want papers to be as they like, so they support silencing and preventing the publication of truth in public issues and events that preoccupy the society. They added that Kuwaiti journalism was and still is the spokesperson of the people, who are looking for the country’s interests.

 

KUWAIT: Cars drive through rainwater pooled on a highway yesterday after heavy rainfall a day earlier. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: Firefighters rescued a total of 83 people during heavy rains that hit Kuwait over the past two days, Kuwait Fire Force (KFF) said yesterday. The persons rescued were trapped in their vehicles in areas where rainwater has accumulated, most of which were in Al-Jahra governorate, the Public Relations and Information Department at KFF said in a statement. Authorities received more than 170 emergency calls, mostly in desert areas, KFF explained, adding that no injuries were reported as firefighters handled all emergency cases it received.

KFF had announced on Saturday that firemen responded to calls from 63 persons who sought help after getting stuck in ponds formed due to the heavy rains. “Those persons were safely rescued and no casualties resulted from the rains,” it affirmed. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh visited the operations room and was briefed by KFF Chief Lt Gen Khaled Al-Mekrad on how to tackle the accidents related to the rains.

 

Kuwait Meteorological Center said meanwhile that chances of rain had started to drop gradually since last night after two days of downpour due to the effects of the Sudan low pressure on the region. Temperatures are expected to drop today as a cold air mass enters the country, meteorologist Abdaziz Al-Qarawi said, adding that light to moderate rain showers are e

   

Al-Mansour and Al-Saleh proceeded the masses of mourners in a military ceremony. His Highness the Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah: My Sincere condolences and sympathy to His Highness the Amir of the Country and his Crown Prince to the families of the martyrs. His Highness the Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh: They sacrificed themselves for the sake of Kuwait and set an example of patriotism, the State of Kuwait mourned today, on Monday 23/11/2020, at the Sulaibikhat Cemetery, the nation’s martyrs of the prisoners and the missing of the Iraqi invasion, according a military ceremony, those whose remains have been identified by genetic fingerprint and its results were matched with the database of prisoners and missing persons at the General Department of Criminal Evidences, after receiving their remains from Iraqi authorities. The crowd of mourners were proceeded by His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Ahmed Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anas Khaled Al-Saleh, and a number of security and military leaders. His Excellency the Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah conveyed the sincere condolences and sympathy of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and his Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the families of the martyrs, asking Allah the Almighty to bestow them with his vast mercy and inspire their families with patience and solace. His Excellency the Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh highlighted the heroism of the prisoners and the missing who sacrificed themselves for the sake of Kuwait state and set an example in patriotism and redemption. Additionally, their names were registered in the record of honor and heroism, after they faced death with courage and valor for the sake of the advancement of this dear country and the safety of its lands. His Excellency the Interior Minister thanked and appreciated the General Department of Criminal Evidences for its great efforts. It contributes effectively in determining the fate of the prisoners and missing persons of Kuwait through the processes of identification of the remains received from Iraqi authorities, stressing the continuation of identification process on the remains that Kuwait received.

 

Source: MOI

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