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Cabinet cancels Kuwait national days’ festivals due to virus fears

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs the Cabinet’s meeting yesterday. – KUNA

KUWAIT: The Cabinet decided yesterday to cancel all festivals marking the National Days sine die, urging the public to understand the measures taken to face the novel coronavirus and embody purposeful cooperation for the safety of citizens and expats. The Cabinet highlighted that this is an exceptional situation, which needs exceptional and restrictive procedures to maintain the safety of both citizens and expats as well as evade the spread of the epidemic and its risks.

Upon the directives of His Highness the Prime Minister, a taskforce on COVID-19 has been formed to follow up the developments of this epidemic and take required steps to curb its spread into the country. The team, led by Minister of Health, includes representatives of ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance, Information and Commerce and Industry, as well as Kuwait General Administration of Customs.

They will keep watch on the possible spread of coronavirus and the measures on both internal and external levels as well as the provision of all preventive and curative supplies. The Cabinet lauded the measures taken by, and strenuous efforts made by the Ministry of Health and other concerned bodies internally and externally, and logistic and medical preparations in this matter. The Cabinet affirmed that it follows up permanently and continuously the development of the spread of the virus.

It emphasized that it would not tolerate taking any measure necessitates the protection of all people on this land. It stressed the necessity of doubling efforts to deal will all possibilities in the face of this epidemic which has affected a number of countries all over the world. It also appealed to people to stick to the instructions issued by the official bodies to escape liability, praying to Allah Almighty to protect the dear homeland and its people from any evil.

Preventive measures
During the Cabinet’s weekly meeting held yesterday at Al-Seif Palace and chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Humoud Al-Sabah – the chair of the taskforce on COVID-19, gave a briefing on the latest developments of the virus and the preventive measures adopted by the competent authorities in keeping with the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Confirming the detection of three infections in Kuwait earlier yesterday, Sheikh Dr Basel told the Cabinet that the three cases are kept under close observation. The Ministry of Health is in contact with the Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (GDCA) and the ports authority to verify the health conditions of arrivals from countries hit by the deadly virus, the minister affirmed.

National days
On the glorious occasion of Kuwait’s 59th National Day and the 29th Liberation Day, the Cabinet members offered heartfelt congratulations to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the people of Kuwait. They recalled the valiance of the sons of Kuwait who remained steadfast in resisting injustice and aggression and defending the dear homeland against aggressors, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Khaled Al-Saleh told reporters following the meeting.

They spoke highly of the brave stances of the sisterly and friendly countries which played a decisive role in helping Kuwait regain liberation and restore sovereignty and freedom. The Cabinet members paid homage to the valiant martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the dignity of the homeland, praying to Almighty Allah to lodge them in paradise, and maintain the country’s security and progress under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince.

Wishing the citizens of, and residents in, Kuwait to enjoy the festive holidays of the national days, they highlighted the importance of avoiding negative behavior that could cause unnecessary nuisance or go against the precautionary measures recently adopted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Meanwhile, the ministers reviewed a report on following up the third quarter, from the first of April until and the end of December, of the 2019-2020 plan. In this context, Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel made a presentation on what has been achieved during the mentioned period, challenges facing the projects, the percentage of execution of these schemes, spending and the pillars of Kuwait’s 2035 vison.

She noted that about 80 percent of the challenges have been addressed. The Cabinet thanked the efforts made to follow-up on the implementation of the annual development plan. It decided to task the minister with referring the report to the National Assembly.

Al-Mutlaa accident
The Cabinet members were briefed by Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Housing Affairs Dr Rana Al-Faris on the results of investigations into the accident in Al-Mutlaa housing project; the probes held the contractor directly responsible for the accident. She also briefed the Cabinet with the decisions taken based on the investigation committee results and referring the report to the General Directorate of Investigations to include it in the case before it in addition to the procedures within the institution based on the proposals submitted by the investigation team.

They also discussed the political affairs in light of the reports regarding the current developments on the political arena on Arab and international levels. Regarding the recent regional and global developments, the cabinet congratulated the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, following his reelection. The Kuwaiti cabinet has deplored, in the strongest terms, the “suicide” shooting incident at two shisha bars in the German city of Hanau near Frankfurt, killing some people on Thursday.

Moreover, they denounced the terrorist attack on a church in northern Burkina Faso, which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries, affirming the consistent position of the State of Kuwait in rejecting all acts of violence and terrorism. On the other hand, the cabinet followed with deep regret the news of the earthquake that struck the Turkish Republic on Sunday, which claimed the lives of a number of people and left huge material damage, expressing sincere condolences to the friendly Turkish people.

Furthermore, the cabinet expressed condolences to President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, over victims of flash flood that hit a high school group of students who were hiking along a river on Indonesia’s main island of Java. – KUNA

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