KUWAIT: Children play in Shadeed Park yesterday, a day before all public parks and recreational areas are set to be closed amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the country. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: Health ministry assistant undersecretary for public health Dr Buthayna Al-Mudhaf said the ministry is contemplating excluding those who have received the coronavirus vaccine from institutional quarantine upon their return to the country, and they will only have to quarantine at home. She said technical committees are studying the issue according to a methodology based on the latest scientific studies and recommendations of international health organizations, adding that the report will be submitted as soon as the study is completed.

Meanwhile, Mudhaf said all people aged over 65 who had registered for the coronavirus vaccine have been inoculated – both citizens and expats. However, she said only 17.4 percent of those eligible to receive the vaccine have registered, calling upon citizens and expats to quickly register for the jab. Kuwait yesterday said 1,318 people tested positive for COVID-19 with seven related deaths, taking total cases to 199,428, while deaths rose to 1,120, according to the health ministry. On Friday, 1,613 people tested positive with eight related deaths.

Kuwait will impose a 5 pm to 5 am curfew from today until April 8 in a bid to contain the coronavirus. Kuwait has since Feb 7 cut opening hours for non-essential retail shops and banned non-citizens from entering the country, but a steep increase in cases in the past week has forced the government to take more stringent measures.

People may walk to mosques to perform prayers during curfew hours, while pharmacies and food shops must use delivery services and all public parks and recreational areas will be closed. Those who break the rules, which also include mandatory use of face masks outside the home, can be fined as much as KD 5,000 and jailed for up to three months.

The country had imposed some of the strictest measures in the Gulf during the first wave of the pandemic over the summer, enforcing a nationwide lockdown with few exceptions. Like most Gulf countries, Kuwait’s economy and state budgets have been hit hard by the economic fallout of the pandemic combined with the low price of oil.