KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced yesterday logging 527 new coronavirus cases detected in the past 24 hours, raising the caseload to 154,841. Ministry spokesperson Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad reported two deaths that were pronounced within the same period, putting the death toll at 945. He added that 10,087 swab tests were taken during the same period, as the total reached 1,337,514.

The ministry had earlier announced that 366 patients have recovered within the same period, putting the total number of recoveries at 149,373. The number of patients in intensive care units reached 50 as of yesterday, while the total number of patients receiving treatment stood at 4,523, Dr Sanad noted.

In other news, the second shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Kuwait on Saturday, Al-Anba Arabic daily reported yesterday quoting an informed source. Priority in vaccination is currently given to frontline and health care workers, people above the age of 65 and people that suffer from chronic diseases. All residents of Kuwait, including citizens and expatriates, can register on the health ministry's website to get vaccinated free of charge.

The new batch of the vaccine was transported immediately to the vaccination center at the Kuwait International Fairground in Mishref, where it is being stored in refrigerators, the source said. The report does not mention the number of doses included in the second batch, but the source says it is enough to vaccinate targeted categories until the third batch arrives. The first batch had arrived on December 23, and included 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

There is no timetable for when the third batch might arrive, but ministry sources quoted in an Al-Qabas daily report three days ago predicted Kuwait to receive a new shipment every week or 10 days. The sources also expected the maximum vaccination capacity to increase from 1,400 to 2,000 this week, and noted that more than 10,000 people have already been vaccinated.

Kuwaiti medical authorities have not reported any cases of side effects among people who have received the vaccine, Dr Fahad Al-Ghemlas, Public Health Director at the Ministry of Health, said. He also revealed in an interview published in Al-Jarida Arabic daily yesterday that Hall 6 at Kuwait International Fairground is going to be opened soon to join Hall 5, noting that Hall 6 alone has a capacity of 150 vaccination units.