KUWAIT: The health ministry has categorically denied that it sent text messages containing results of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests without conducting the tests actually on persons. Reports circulating on social media networks in this regard are totally untrue, the ministry said in a press release on Friday.

When the health authorities conduct a COVID-19 test on a person, they register their personal data, including the ID card number and phone number. Sometimes two persons have the same phone number, so an SMS containing the test result could be sent to the phone number of more than one person associated with the ID card number of the person in question, the ministry explained.

The interior ministry again urged people to help fight the spread of rumors about COVID-19. "Do not help those spreading rumors by sharing or reposting them, as merely doing so makes you an accomplice. Reports circulating on social media networks does not mean they are authentic. Only rely on official sources. Report those spreading rumors about the disease and false statistics through social media networks," the ministry tweeted.

Kuwait yesterday recorded 720 confirmed coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, raising the tally to 88,963 cases, with three deaths raising the death toll to 540, a health ministry official said yesterday. The figures include people who came into contact with infected individuals and others whose source of infection is currently being investigated, health ministry spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad said.

In terms of health zones, 177 cases were reported in Hawally, 169 in Ahmadi, 130 in the Capital, 127 in Farwaniya and 117 in Jahra. Earlier, the ministry said 486 people recovered from the virus, taking the total number of those who have overcome the disease to 79,903. Sanad said 91 patients are currently in intensive care out of a total 8,520 patients hospitalized.

He added 4,414 swab tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 640,634. The official reiterated the strict need to abide by health precautions, urging nationals and expatriates alike that following social distancing rules is the only way to keep the virus at bay.