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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 13: The parliamentary Health Affairs Committee on Wednesday discussed the government’s bill on the prevention of infectious diseases in the presence of Health Ministry Undersecretary Dr Mustafa Reda and assistant undersecretaries in the ministry. Committee Chairman MP Saadoun Hammad disclosed the bill stipulates KD 100 fine for not wearing face masks, indicating the committee asked the ministry to lighten this penalty.
He said only one member of the committee – MP Dr Saleh Zeiab Al- Mutairi – supported the proposed penalty and even demanded for increasing the fine to KD 500.
Hammad confirmed that the ministry briefed the committee on the coronavirus vaccination process, which includes the signing of a contract with American company Pfizer for the procurement of one million doses of the vaccine that will be administered to 500,000 individuals.
He added the ministry informed the committee that the efficacy rate of this vaccine is more than 90 percent. According to the lawmaker, the ministry also signed a contract through a local agent to obtain three million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for 1.5 million individuals, indicating this vaccine is more than 70 percent effective.
He said the ministry did not sign a contract to procure the German vaccine Moderna or the Chinese Emitari. He added the quantity of vaccines currently available in Kuwait is enough for two million individuals, while the total population is 4.776 million, so the committee asked the ministry to sign contracts with other companies to accelerate the vaccination process such that it will be completed within one year.
He pointed out the current rate of vaccination entails it will take more than two years to vaccinate the entire population. He went on to say that the committee also tackled bills on charitable work, unions and health insurance which it expects to receive soon. In addition, MP Osama Al-Shaheen forwarded queries to Minister of Health Dr Basel Al-Sabah about the low number of people vaccinated against corona daily.
He wants to know the plan of the ministry on completing the vaccination process and if it intends to recruit vaccination teams from other countries. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Committee met Assistant Undersecretary for Residency Affairs in the Interior Ministry General Anwar Al-Berges, Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Affairs Muhammad Al-Sharhan, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Affairs Major General Farraj Al-Zua’abi, Assistant Undersecretary for Correctional Facilities and Sentences Execution Major General Talal Ma’arefi, Assistant Undersecretary for Education and Training Major General Nasser Burseli and several other senior officials at the ministry.
Chairman of the committee MP Thamer Al-Suwait affirmed the meeting was fruitful as they discussed ways to improve work in the abovementioned sectors of the ministry. He said the committee submitted a number of queries to the senior officials and gave them one month to respond. He added the committee will use the answers to these questions in preparing its report on the human rights conditions in different facilities at the ministry.
He continued saying that the committee will hold a meeting with senior officials at the National Diwan for Human Rights to evaluate its performance since inception. Furthermore, MP Yousef Al-Ghareeb submitted a proposal to double the cost of living allowance of citizens – from KD 120 to KD 240 per month. MP Mehalhal Al-Mudaf has proposed naming the streets in residential areas after the martyrs who resided in these areas.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff
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