KUWAIT CITY, Dec 2, (Agencies): Coinciding with the increased level of health preparedness based on the accumulated experience in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait is moving towards closing the first gate to prevent the infiltration of the Omicron variant, following its arrival in neighboring countries, by imposing restrictions on granting of tourist visas, especially for those coming from some of the countries where this variant has been detected, reports Al-Rai daily. According to a senior ministerial source, there is currently no plan to impose a ban – either total or partial – in the country.
Director of the Ahmadi Health Zone Dr. Ahmed Al-Shatti stressed the need to continue adhering to health requirements, preventive measures, and scrutiny of land, air and sea entries. At the same time, he highlighted that the situation is reassuring, and that the numbers convey a message of safety and reassurance.
In statements to KUNA following a meeting of the ministerial coronavirus emergency committee, Head of the Center for Government Communication and the Government Spokesperson Tareq Al-Mezrem urged citizens and residents to take the booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine and to abide by the relevant health requirements. He added that the coronavirus committee would continue its meetings to follow up and reassess the situation after reports about the detection of the Omicron variant in the region and the world.
At the advent of the meeting, Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al- Sabah updated the committee about the coronavirus situation in Kuwait, Al- Mezrem said. Dr. Basel assured the committee that the situation is stable thanks to the efforts exerted by the Health ministry and all government ministries and bodies to implement the cabinet decisions and recommendations to counter the coronavirus spread. Al-Mezrem pointed out that the committee also reviewed the reports from other government bodies about their views of the situation and assessment of the public abidance by health measures.
The government spokesperson called on all citizens and residents to abide by coronavirus preventive measures, especially wearing facemasks and taking the vaccine. He pointed out that fully vaccinated people can get the booster shot at the vaccination centers without prior appointments. This is an important step for increasing people protection from the virus and retaining the stability of the health situation in the country, he concluded. Field teams of departments partaking in the combat against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will re-examine adherence to warranted procedures at various facilities in line with the approach to safeguard Kuwait’s health status, an official announced on Thursday.
Ahmad al-Manfouhi, the deputy chairperson of the main committee for overseeing implementation of the COVID-19 related conditions and Kuwait Municipality Director General, said in a statement to KUNA that the higher commission is following up on reports and declarations from regional and foreign countries about developments related to the new coronavirus strain, Omicron.
According to informed security sources, the Ministry of Interior issued only about 1,200 tourist visas in a week. The maximum daily requests have been set at 600 only. Entitled The majority of these visa holders are passport holders of the 53 countries from which citizens are entitled to enter the country via a tourist visa, as well as some residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in specific professions.
The sources said, “After the emergence of the Omicron mutant, the General Department for Residency Affairs has been studying the need for strictness in granting tourist visas to citizens of some countries where infections with the Omicron variant were detected.”
Saudi Arabia had announced earlier this week that it had detected the first case of the Omicron variant in a citizen who arrived from a North African country. In this regard, health sources stressed the need to avoid panicking in light of several reassuring data, most notably the fact that the rate of vaccination with two doses reached more than 80 percent in the country. His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al- Hamad Al-Sabah on Thursday assured the people of Kuwait that the health situation in the country is stable with no spillover of the new coronavirus strain, Omicron.
The health condition in the State of Kuwait is stable “however we have been following up with utter concern (on developments concerning) the new variant that preoccupied the world over the past days and spilled over to some Gulf states,” His Highness the prime minister said. He was speaking to reporters during a visit he paid to Al- Udaire’ army base. There has been not a single case of Omicron in Kuwait, he affirmed, noting that the situation is being closely monitored by the Ministry of Health and the Supreme Emergency Committee of the Coronavirus.
Precautions in place prevent any nonvaccinated person from entering the country, he said, noting that PCR tests have proven effective to stem spillover of the virus to the country. The pandemic situation in the Kuwait is stable, the government affirmed Monday, but urged the public to remain vigilant after the emergence of new coronavirus variant, known as Omicron, in several countries.