KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah receives HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who submitted the government's resignation, at Bayan Palace yesterday. - KUNA

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received at Bayan Palace yesterday HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who submitted the government's resignation to him. Cabinet ministers had submitted their resignations to Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled on Tuesday.

Sixteen opposition MPs yesterday signed a statement calling on the next Cabinet to make fighting corruption its top priority. The statement also called on the future government to cooperate in passing laws to amend the election law and legislation linked to freedom of expression, in addition to the Kuwaitization of public sector jobs.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly's health and labor committee yesterday rejected a government proposal to impose a fine of KD 100 on people not wearing a facemask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Rapporteur of the committee MP Saadoun Hammad said the majority of the panel members rejected the proposal except MP Saleh Al-Mutairi, a physician, who called for raising the fine to KD 500.

Hammad said the committee rejected the principle of imposing fines on citizens, adding that MPs asked the health ministry about the way it plans to impose the fine. The lawmaker said the committee also discussed the vaccination drive against the coronavirus and the vaccines the ministry has already contracted to buy. He said the health ministry explained that it has already contracted to purchase one million vaccines from Pfizer, enough to inoculate 500,000 people.

Hammad said the ministry has also signed a contract to import three million AstraZeneca vaccines, enough for 1.5 million people. This means that throughout this year, the ministry will be importing vaccines enough for two million people, he said. The committee however called on the ministry to sign more contracts directly with manufacturing companies to import vaccines enough for the entire population of the country within the current year.

In a related development, MP Osama Al-Shaheen asked the health minister why the vaccination drive in Kuwait has been so slow. He also asked him about the ministry's vaccination plan and if it plans to recruit foreign teams to help in the vaccination process.