No coronavirus in Kuwait; circulated video for hospital drill: Health Ministry

By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Health ministry spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad said the ministry is transparent in announcing any coronavirus case, adding that information will be transmitted from trusted sources at the ministry. The statement was made after images and videos went viral that were taken during a training exercise to face epidemics.

Sanad said the videos and images are from Jahra Hospital, and the claim that a patient is suffering from coronavirus there is not true, adding the pictures are from an exercise that was carried out at the hospital. He said that there are no coronavirus cases in Kuwait so far.

Fees’ hike
Informed sources said the economic committee of the Council of Ministers did not reject a proposal that calls for authorizing the health ministry to increase charges for medical services at hospitals and health centers for expats whenever justified. The sources said this approval does not mean the health ministry will increase its fees; rather it is a green light to increase fees when necessary, which must be submitted to the Council of Ministers first, explaining there is no indication that this increase could happen this year.

The sources said the approval of the ministerial economic committee is valid for increasing gasoline prices as necessary, with the approval of the Council of Ministers first, adding any gasoline price increase will be with measures related to compensating Kuwaitis, as required by the National Assembly.

The sources said a gasoline price increase does not represent a necessary move for the government, out of fear that it may be linked to price hikes in other sectors. They said increasing electricity and water tariffs again is also not being considered by the government for two reasons – because it needs legislation by the National Assembly and MPs are not in likely to approve this. Also, MEW is thinking about privatizing its sectors and transform into to a power and water authority, besides having private power companies, and all of this will lead to price increases in the future.

Needs of teachers
The education ministry’s public education sector began deciding its needs of teachers of both genders locally and from abroad, as well as the required specialties for the school year 2020/2021. Informed sources said the public education sector wrote to the acting education ministry undersecretary about its needs of non-Kuwaiti teachers.

Eleven specialties require local recruits next year: Arabic, English, French, Mathematics, Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, Art and Music. Meanwhile, foreign contracts are needed in seven specialties including all of the above except for Arabic, Science, Art and Music.

Sources said the public education sector has designated two countries – Jordan and Palestine – to bring teachers from through foreign committees that are expected to start work early this year, as four committees will be formed for each country for English, French, Maths and Science. It said the coordination department has decided the number of required teachers in each specialty, and the total number is nearly 500 teachers.