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Steps taken to contain ‘omicron’ – Return, Kuwaitis abroad urged

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 5: With the number of daily new COVID cases exceeding the level of 1,000, steps have been accelerated to contain the new omicron variant, and prevent its spread in the country. These steps include suspending social events, working on the possibility of giving the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to specific groups, and continuing to urge citizens who are abroad to return to the country, reports Al-Rai daily. The Cabinet, during its meeting held on Monday, decided to temporarily suspend all social events of all kinds that are held in closed places, starting from Sunday, January 9 until February 28.

It also decided to obligate all those coming to the country to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival to determine the passenger is free of COVID-19 infection, as of Tuesday. Previously, the period for the PCR test was set at 48 hours. In parallel with the ongoing third dose campaign, informed sources revealed a tendency to start providing the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to specific groups, including people with weak immunity, and some others who are most at risk of infection.

They indicated that this step is similar to what some countries have started doing. According to a recent announcement issued by the Pfizer CEO Albert Borla, a fourth dose may be needed, after preliminary research showed that the omicron variant could undermine the antibodies produced by the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry of Health has decided to postpone the convening of the specialized committees for overseas treatment starting from next Sunday until further notice, and until the global epidemiological situation improves, except for critical cases for which the treating authority decides there is no treatment inside Kuwait.

These measures were decided after the daily numbers recorded a significant jump in the number of infections, which reached 982 on Monday, which is an increase of 62 percent compared to the rate on Sunday, which was 609 cases, and reached 1,482 cases on Tuesday. However, the clinical situation remained stable, as no new deaths were recorded. The number of cases in intensive care reached 8 on Monday and 9 on Tuesday. With the continued deterioration of the health situation in various countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies have been urging citizens who are abroad to return to the country. After such calls were made to citizens who are in the United Kingdom, France and Germany on Sunday, similar calls were made on Monday to those in Spain, Ukraine, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey and Morocco.

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