Kuwait’s Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah said on Monday COVID-19 infection and death rates are at an “unprecedented decline,” with intensive care unit occupancy levels at their “lowest” amid an increase in two-dose vaccination rates amongst nationals and residents. This came as the minister briefed a Cabinet session on the “ongoing improvements” regarding the COVID-19 pandemic situation nationwide, according to a Cabinet statement.
In turn, ministers expressed “great satisfaction and reassurance” at the revelation, labelling the public vaccination campaign a “success”, thanks to its contribution to raising societal immunity levels. They went on to reiterate the need for both nationals and residents, who have not yet been inoculated, to receive one of the four approved vaccines to preserve public safety and ensure the defeat and full control over this pandemic.
Separately, ministers welcomed the return home of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah after a private trip abroad, congratulating him on the advent of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birthday and praying that the event would bring growth and prosperity to the Muslim world. On the international scale, Foreign Minister and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Dr Ahmad Naser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah highlighted the details of his recent attendance of Non-Aligned Movement talks in Belgrade.
His speech at the meeting underlined Kuwait’s commitment to the 10 Bandung principles, namely respect of fundamental human rights under the United Nations Charter, respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognition of equality amongst all races, creeds and sects, non-intervention in the affairs of other countries, respect of a nation’s right to defend itself in conformity with the UN Charter. Also, the non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the interests of great powers, refraining from acts of aggression on another country, the settlement of global disputes through peaceful means, the promotion of cooperation and mutual interest and respect for international justice.
The minister went on to outline the results of recent meetings with visiting officials, namely Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz and Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia, both of which discussed bilateral trade ties alongside issues of mutual significance. Another visit by UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, saw the official expressing gratitude and appreciation for Kuwait’s support of the UN agency’s endeavors, most recently a healthcare program dedicated to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, alongside the UNRWA budget, the statement said.
Kuwait Fire Force
The Cabinet members debated the proposal of the committee to shift the supervisory authority over the Kuwait Fire Force from the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs to the Minister of Interior in light of the completion of the KFF military organization as a regular force. They approved the blueprint of the proposal to shift the supervisory authority over the KFF to the Minister of Interior and asked the Fatwa and Legislation Department to work out a final draft decree in this regard. The Cabinet reviewed a recommendation from the committee to add a second paragraph to Article 4 of Act 419 for 2010 on authorization of setting up the Canadian John Queen University in Kuwait.
It also reviewed a draft decree to endorse a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in Islamic affairs and ‘waqf’ (religious endowments) between Kuwait and Qatar. It debated draft decree to endorse a MoU on cooperation in direct investment promotion between Kuwait and Qatar. It debated draft decree to endorse a MoU on cooperation in social affairs between Kuwait and Turkey. It debated draft decree to endorse a MoU on cooperation in domestic workers’ affairs between Kuwait and India. It debated draft decree to endorse a draft pact on aviation services between Kuwait and the Duchy of Luxembourg.
The Cabinet approved the draft decrees and referred them to His Highness the Amir for final endorsement. The Cabinet debated the recommendation of the committee on education, health and youth affairs on the upgrading of school management of the various stages of public education. It tasked the minister of education to press ahead with the legal, technical and procedural measures necessary for materializing the content of the report of the committee, and report back to the Cabinet on a quarterly basis on progress of the implementation of the vision for ensuring quality education.
As for the National Assembly affairs, the Cabinet reviewed the letter of the Assembly Speaker regarding a grilling request from MP Hisham Abdulsamad Al-Saleh to minister of health, dated on October 12, 2021. The grilling request is to be on the agenda of the first parliament session pursuant to Article 135 of the executive statutes of the Assembly. The Cabinet, while renewing confidence in the minister of health, reaffirmed that interpellation is one of the constitutional rights of MPs. The Cabinet appreciated the efforts and dedication of the Ministry of Health in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, taking pride in the outstanding achievements in this regard.
The Minister of Oil and Minister of Higher Education Dr Mohammad Abdullatif Al-Fares briefed the Cabinet on the circumstances surrounding the fire incident at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery Monday morning. The fire, which broke out from a sulfur melting unit at the facility belonging to Kuwait National Petroleum Company, resulted in minor injuries and suffocations among several workers, Dr Fares told the Cabinet. Some of the injured workers received proper first aid on the spot and others were rushed to Al-Adan Hospital in a stable health condition, he said, adding that the fire was subdued timely and the oil facility continued operating normally. The Cabinet spoke highly of the efforts of the oil workers and firefighters which helped contain the fire and minimize its impacts in a record time.
The Cabinet reviewed a host of political issues related to the regional and international affairs. It condemned in the strongest terms the persistent attempts of the Houthi militias to undermine the security of sisterly Saudi Arabia and threaten the shipping routes in the southern Red Sea.
The persistence of such hostilities and escalation of attacks on civilian targets in Jazan city, south Saudi Arabia, constitutes a blatant violation of the rules of the international and humanitarian laws, which requires a prompt and decisive response from the international community, the Cabinet stressed. The Cabinet renewed full support to the sisterly Saudi Arabia in whatever measures it might take to protect its security, stability and sovereignty.
On the deadly clashes in Lebanon last Thursday, the Cabinet urged the Lebanese government to exercise self-restraint, end the sedition, and abide by the constitution and law in order to bring the country out of the current crisis. The Cabinet expressed Kuwait’s solidarity with sisterly Lebanon and support to its efforts to restore security, stability and sovereignty, and realize the aspiration of its people.
The Cabinet expressed sincere congratulations to new Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden on the formation of her government and wished her success in realizing the aspirations of the brotherly people of Tunisia. The Cabinet congratulated Iraqi President Barham Saleh on the successful parliamentary elections, expressing best wishes for sisterly Iraq. The Cabinet denounced the deadly bomb attack on a mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on last Friday, renewing Kuwait’s principle stand against all forms and manifestations of violence and terrorism. – KUNA