Full curfew expected to help reduce COVID-19 cases: Health Minister

Kuwait’s Government urged the public Monday to abide by the full curfew and comply with health authorities’ instructions as the curfew was expected to reduce the number of coronavirus cases. Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, in an online briefing for the cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said number of infections amongst citizens and expatriates increased due to failure of the public to abide by physical distancing. Sheikh Basel however said the health situation was under control and “the number of infections is expected to decline after the implementation of the full curfew in the country,” a statement by Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh said. The full curfew began Sunday and the government allowed the people to exercise outdoors for two hours daily: 4:30-6:30 pm.

Sheikh Basel, meanwhile, said the Ministry of Health filed three lawsuits against persons who attempted to undermine reputation of the MoH and its staff regarding alleged corruption and profiteering crimes related to purchase of masks and protective garments, said Saleh. Sheikh Basel reiterated full confidence in the MoH officials who were “carrying out their responsibilities faithfully and in integrity.”

Examining procedures
Saleh said the cabinet, keen on brushing aside any claim, assigned the State Audit Bureau to examine direct contracting procedures carried out by the MoH, as of March 1, 2020, in order to confront ramifications of the coronavirus. The government urged the public to come forward to legal departments and anti-corruption authority to provide information and documents proving commitment of corruption crimes. It also assigned relevant government authorities to take legal action against any person publishing false allegations against integrity of officials, said Saleh.

On the other hand, Minister of Oil and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Khaled Al-Fadhel and MEW’s officials briefed the cabinet members that 13,340 megawatts of electricity would be generated this month, a three-percent increase than the 2019 figures. In the meantime, Foreign Minister and head of a special team tasked with repatriation of citizens from abroad, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, briefed the government about preparations for nationals’ return from Saudi Arabia via the land checkpoint Al-Nuwaiseeb were complete. He said the operation would be carried out between May 12 and 20, and the foreign ministry and the State of Kuwait Embassy in Riyadh started registering names of citizens seeking to return home. He expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia for facilitating the return of Kuwaiti citizens.

Amir’s speech
The cabinet also discussed speech of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, which he addressed to the nation two days ago, during which he urged the international community and specialists to search for a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic. His Highness the Amir highlighted the professional and transparent way the government was dealing with the pandemic, thanking all those who were fighting the disease. His Highness the Amir also called for learning lessons to strengthen national unity, rationalize resources, lessen dependence on others and diversify income. The cabinet assigned relevant ministerial committees to implement guidelines in the speech.

The cabinet meanwhile urged the parliament to postpone a National Assembly’s session, scheduled for today, until after May 30, the last day of the full curfew. The government said the scheduled session entailed health hazards because the parliament would house more than 100 people in one place, which would contradict with preventive measures to confront the virus.

Source : Kuwait Times

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