By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday issued a decision allowing residents under 18 years of age who have not been vaccinated to return to the country, provided they pledge to take the vaccine after arriving. The decision tasked the interior ministry to make returnees sign undertakings that they will take the vaccine in Kuwait. It also called for applying institutional and home quarantine whenever necessary and urged the application of health measures.

Kuwait has so far refused to allow expats who have not taken two doses of approved vaccines to return to the country. Those who have taken Chinese or Russian vaccines are required to take a third dose of an approved vaccine to be able to return. The Cabinet also issued another decision allowing the return of fans to sports venues, provided they are fully vaccinated and that their total number should not exceed 30 percent of the venues' capacity. All must observe health conditions set by the health ministry.

Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah briefed the Cabinet about major progress in the health situation and the sharp drop in the number of coronavirus cases, saying that the infection rate has dropped to just 0.6 percent of tests. As a result, a number of coronavirus treatment wards at hospitals have been shut down.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced yesterday that direct commercial flights with India will resume today after a one-year suspension due to the pandemic. The DGCA has scheduled five flights a day according to the seat capacity agreed upon by the two countries, in accordance with the Cabinet's recent decision to increase the airport's capacity, Aviation Control Director Raed Al-Taher said. The first flight from India is scheduled to arrive at 6:00 am today, he added.

The decision to resume flights was first announced last month, while following COVID-19 protocols, but without giving a timeframe for implementation. Kuwait had suspended commercial flights from several countries including India and Egypt on the advice of health authorities amid a surge in COVID cases. Direct flights with Egypt resumed on Sunday.