Kuwait detects Kraken Covid variant XBB.1.5

Ministry of Health calls on everyone to take the necessary preventive measures

People arrive to receive a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at a make-shift vaccination centre in Kuwait City. EPA
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Kuwait’s Ministry of Health announced that it has detected an XBB.1.5 variant of the coronavirus.

Genetic tests detected the XBB.1.5 variant, which belongs to a subset of Covid-19's Omicron strain.

The ministry said on Wednesday that the indicators of the epidemiological situation are stable, and renewed its call for adherence to prevention guidelines.

It also pointed out that the emergence of such variants was expected and was not a cause concern, adding that the epidemiological situation was being closely monitored.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health called on members of the public to take the necessary preventive measures, and to complete the prescribed doses of coronavirus vaccine, seasonal influenza and pneumonia vaccination.

After an increase in case numbers in China after Beijing dismantled its zero-Covid policies, PCR testing for people arriving from China has been reintroduced by several countries.

Qatar announced it would require people arriving from China to provide a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken within 48 hours of departure.

The US, Canada, Australia and the UK imposed PCR testing requirements on any travellers from mainland China from Thursday. The American and Australian guidelines also cover Hong Kong and Macau.

Kuwait’s cabinet agreed to end all coronavirus vaccination and PCR testing requirements for incoming travellers in April 2022, and made wearing masks at indoor and outdoor venues optional.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 7:42 AM