Kuwait tightens Covid-19 rules with ban on indoor gatherings

Ministry of Health says daily reported cases has 'doubled' in past 10 days

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Kuwait‘s Cabinet has banned indoor gatherings from January 9 until February 28 over concerns about the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Under tighter Covid-19 restrictions, as of Tuesday, incoming travellers will be required to show a negative PCR test result taken not more than 72 hours before arriving in the country, state news agency Kuna reported.

The government also urged residents to obtain booster vaccine doses “to prevent a third wave of the pandemic”, Kuna said.

Kuwait‘s Ministry of Health said that the number of daily reported Covid-19 cases has ”doubled” over the past 10 days.

“For indicators to remain under control, continuous co-operations, awareness and care are required,” it said in a tweet.

More than 85 per cent of Kuwait’s population, or 3.2 million people, received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry’s latest figures show.

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are among the approved inoculations in the country.

In recent days, Kuwait’s embassies in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ukraine and France have issued warnings for citizens to leave these countries and return home amid fears of a surge in the new Omicron strain of the virus and further travel restrictions.

Kuwait is also facing a bout of unstable weather that has prompted the government to warn people to remain indoors.

The Kuwait Meteorological Department said visibility would improve today but heavy winds and low temperatures are expected to continue.

Qatar hospitals overcrowded

Social media personality Mohammed Al Dosari sparked public debate about health care in Qatar after describing the overcrowded hospital he took his sick child to.

”There’s like 60 thousand children in there,” Mr Al Dosari said to his 830 thousand Instagram followers.

He said people were at greater risk of catching the virus under those conditions and appealed the Minister of Health to take steps to reduce crowding.

People on social media have complained of long queues at screening centres and delays in receiving results, even for rapid tests.

The daily number of cases have surpassed the 1,100 mark, the highest since the country experienced its first wave in mid-2020.

Qatar’s state-owned non-profit Hamad Medical Corporation encouraged people to use its home delivery service for medicines rather than leave the house.

Israel to admit foreigners

Israel said it will admit foreigners with presumed Covid-19 immunity from medium-risk countries as of January 9, relaxing a ban imposed in late November.

On Monday, the health ministry said travellers from 199 countries designated “orange”, including Australia, Italy and Ireland, would be allowed to enter if they could prove in advance they had been vaccinated or had recovered from Covid-19.

They will be subject to PCR testing before and after arrival.

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The health ministry has also recommended that South Africa, Nigeria, Spain, Portugal, France and Canada, currently among 16 countries listed as “red” or high risk for Covid-19, be downgraded to “orange”.

Israel is offering a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine to people aged 60 and over, and is the first country in the world to widely offer the extra shot to fight off Omicron.

The fourth dose will also be made available to medical staff who had their last vaccine shot at least four months ago, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

Last week, Israel approved the extra shot for people who are immunocompromised, nursing home residents or patients on geriatric wards.

Updated: January 4th 2022, 11:57 AM