KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday reported 1,015 new coronavirus cases and eight COVID-related deaths, taking the total cases up to 186,004 and deaths to 1,057. The Ministry of Health also reported that 906 more people have been cured of the virus, raising the total of those to have overcome the disease to 174,088.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus stood yesterday at 10,859, with 146 of them in intensive care units, ministry spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad told a press conference. He added that some 8,221 swab tests were conducted over the same period, bringing the total up to 1,746,776. He went on to urge the public to abide by health precautions, mainly social distancing, to help curb the spread of the virus.

Latest developments

The Cabinet had followed up on the latest developments related to the pandemic during its weekly meeting chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Monday. Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basil Hmoud Al-Sabah briefed ministers on the health situation in the country, including details of the overall statistics and non-positive indicators that confirm the recent high numbers of infection cases compared to the number of swabs.

The Cabinet was also briefed on the remarkable increase in the number of fatalities, in addition to an increase in the number of people receiving treatment in hospitals and the percentage of intensive care occupancy, which warns of the need to take strict measures to limit the spread of this pandemic. In this regard, the Cabinet reviewed recommendations by the Ministerial Committee for Coronavirus Emergencies, and decided the following:

First: Closing the land and sea borders, with the exception of shipping operations and workers in the divided zone and their relatives. The return of citizens from land and sea borders, their first-degree relatives, and their companions, which may include domestic workers, will be allowed. The Cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Interior and General Administration of Customs to implement the provisions of the decision, which shall be enforced as of today until further notice.

Second: Prohibiting dinging inside all kinds of restaurants and cafes, including those inside malls and shopping centers, with the exception of takeout orders and delivery services which will continue to operate. The decision shall be enforced as of today until further notice.

Third: The number of workers in public workplaces must not exceed 30 percent, and each government agency shall determine the appropriate percentage for it in a way that does not exceed these limits in accordance with the requirements of the public interest and work conditions. Meanwhile, the private sector must adhere to the percentage of the number of workers in the workplace by no more than 50 percent.

Furthermore, full commitment should be observed in all cases to health preventive measures set by the competent health authorities, as well as procedures, rules, flexible working hours and remote work in accordance with the manual of policies and procedures for the gradual return to work issued by the Civil Service Bureau. The decision is effective from today until further notice.

Public transportation

Fourth: Forcing public transportation to adhere to the number of passengers, which should not exceed 30 percent of the total carrying capacity in buses, with a commitment to apply the health and preventive measures in force by the Ministry of Health in this regard, effective from today until further notice.

Fifth: The Cabinet was informed on the mechanism adopted by the Public Authority for Sports and the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee regarding the proposed procedures to enforce health requirements at sports facilities for the return of sports activity in the country. The Public Authority for Sports was assigned, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, and Kuwaiti Olympic Committee, to take measures necessary to implement the mechanism needed.

Sixth: Forming a joint committee headed by the Ministry of Interior and membership of each of Ministry of Health, Directorate General of Civil Aviation to oversee the mechanism for enforcing institutional quarantine applied to all arrivals to the country.

Seventh: The Cabinet approved a Ministry of Health request regarding the recruitment of the third batch of medical staff from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, including doctors, nursing and technical staff. It assigned the Ministry of Health to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in this regard.

The Cabinet also affirmed on the importance of continuing to apply precautionary measures and preventive measures, applying social distancing standards, avoiding gatherings, and increasing caution to limit the spread of the coronavirus, especially to elderly and patients with chronic diseases. The Council of Ministers also stressed the need for citizens and residents to adhere to the Cabinet's decision to prevent gatherings and celebrations of national holidays, in order to avoid risks of infections. - KUNA