The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly health committee yesterday agreed to reduce fines for not wearing a facemask and abiding by health conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic from KD 100 to KD 50. The reduction came while the committee was studying a government-sponsored law proposing penalties for those who do not comply with health measures during pandemics.

The law must be approved by the Assembly to become effective. A number of lawmakers yesterday strongly criticized measures applied by the civil aviation obliging travelers to register with the Kuwait Mosafer application and the requirement that travelers must have been vaccinated.

MPs Saad Al-Khanfour, head of the Assembly health committee, and Hisham Al-Saleh called for scrapping the application because of the large number of technical problems associated with the app that people must register with to be able to travel out of Kuwait or return to the country. Khanfour said travelers have encountered a number of problems, especially when abroad, including being unable to update the app, failure to respond to questions and even downloading the app to their mobiles.

He said linking the return of citizens to their country with an app that has many technical problems is unacceptable, and accordingly this requirement must be cancelled and simply replaced with a PCR test certificate. Saleh said the app must be scrapped and those responsible for it should be held to account, adding that he has submitted a proposal calling to scrap the app.

MP Osama Al-Shaheen asked Defense Minister Sheikh Hamad Al-Sabah, who is also chairman of the civil aviation authority, about who designed the app and if an aviation company, which is the contractor and main beneficiary of the app, has any link to its design. MP Mohammad Al-Huwaila called on the government to reverse the decision banning unvaccinated citizens from leaving the country, saying the decision is against the constitution.

Meanwhile, the health ministry announced yesterday the inauguration of a COVID-19 vaccination center for motorists on the southern island of Jaber Causeway. Official health ministry spokesperson Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad said the center is equipped with all necessary equipment and staffed by a 200-strong team of medics, technicians and administrators.

Sanad noted there are 22 vaccination centers in all the country’s governorates, in addition to the immunization center at the fairgrounds in Mishref. Vaccines are also being administered to military personnel at the Military Hospital and oil sector employees at Ahmadi Hospital, affiliated to Kuwait Oil Company. The newly-opened inoculation center at Jaber Causeway is one of the largest centers in the country, with 10 lanes and 20 vaccination cabins. The center, situated on the 30,000-sq-m island, includes clinics and emergency chambers.