By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The Council of Ministers yesterday slapped a ban on the travel of citizens, their close relatives and domestic helpers to foreign countries unless they have received two doses of vaccinations, the government spokesman said. Tareq Al-Mazrem said the ban will be effective from May 22. Young people not covered by the vaccination drive are exempted from the ban. He added that the Cabinet also extended a ban on the entry of expatriates, which has been effective since early February.
Meanwhile, ten lawmakers yesterday submitted a motion demanding to convene a special session of the National Assembly to discuss the education ministry’s plans to hold written examinations amid health concerns. The lawmakers said in their motion that the education ministry intends to hold written exams for the 12th grade despite the continued rise in the number of new coronavirus cases, demanding that exams should be held online.
The motion said that holding written exams for thousands of students could lead to serious health problems as health authorities are still struggling to contain the spread of the pandemic. The lawmakers also said written exams could cause the spread of the coronavirus among the students and eventually among their families, which will threaten the health system in the country. They said the ministry plan to hold the exams comes amid warnings that a new third wave of the pandemic could happen any time.
In the meantime, MP Ahmad Al-Azemi yesterday asked Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah to reveal the number of people who have been vaccinated and their nationalities. He also demanded to know the number of people who received the first dose of vaccination and the number of people who received both doses. Azemi has already filed to grill the health minister for allegedly failing to manage the coronavirus pandemic despite huge spending to contain it.
The ministry of health, meanwhile, has rescheduled the duration of the second dose of vaccination due to the shortage of supplies of the two vaccines being used in the country. The ministry said people who had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will now get the second dose after six weeks instead of three weeks. People over 60 years and those with chronic diseases are exempted.
People who had received the first doze of AstraZeneca vaccine will now get the second dose after four months instead of three. All people will get the new appointment via a text message. The ministry cited increasing competition for vaccines and delays in shipments as the reason for altering the vaccination schedule.
MPs yesterday called on authorities to close down restaurants and cafes that have been allowed to operate during daytime in the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Islamist MP Fayez Al-Mutairi said selling hot drinks during the day in Ramadan involves legal and religious violations and warned he will take action.