Phase 3 and Incoming Passengers plan
The reduction of curfew hours from 9 hours to 6, as part of Phase Three of the reopening plan, does not mark an end to the coronavirus pandemic threat as no vaccine has yet been officially approved, Kuwait‘s health minister warned on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference, Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah underlined that adhering to public health and safety measures was the only way to prevent infection during all five phases of the plan until a cure is found.
The transition from one stage to the other and reducing restrictions is aimed at adapting to the return to everyday life while applying health measures to reduce the spread of the virus, said the minister. He reiterated that these measures include staying at home and leaving only for necessity, covering the mouth and nose, social distancing and making sure to sterilise and wash hands regularly. He also urged ensuring the safety of the elderly, chronic disease patients and pregnant women.
Most of these cases have been of the elderly members of the community, who in spite of staying at home, caught the virus from a family member who was not following health guidelines. The partial curfew was originally set to be lifted completely at the third stage, but ministers instead saw the need to only reduce its duration “in order to preserve the public’s health,” he explained.
Phase three will witness an increase in public sector attendance by no more than 50 percent of the total workforce, visits to social care homes allowed, the reopening of hotels, resorts and apartment hotels and the re-operation of taxis, however, with only one passenger allowed on board.
He said, Once The World Health Organisation (WHO) gets ahold of the first batch of vaccines from manufacturers, therefore, “an agreement will be through this organisation to obtain vaccinations, while for the second batch, (an agreement) will be with companies directly.”
In relation to health guidelines placed on incoming travellers, as the country prepares to relaunch commercial flights in August, he said a 14-day home quarantine will be applied in order to ensure that the individual is not infected. The visitor will also be required to fill in their information in a government app and wear an assigned e-bracelet at all times.
As for PCR tests proving that visitors are not infected, he said these will be taken from accredited laboratories and health centres in the country of departure, adding that the ministries of health and foreign affairs are currently in coordination with their counterparts in this respect. Around 500 incoming travellers will be taken in randomly for swab tests on a daily basis at Kuwait International Airport to make sure the results of their medical certifications are correct, he added.
The country’s move to phase three comes after the government’s adoption of a five-phase plan of reopening based on five criteria on May 28.
These criteria are the scale of infections, stability of case numbers over a sufficient period, lower Intensive Care Unit occupancy numbers, lower hospital bed occupancy numbers and lower numbers of positive cases detected by daily swabs. Each phase is assessed every three weeks, at least, whereby the government determines whether to move on with the following phase.