Kuwait, Qatar Covid-19 daily cases soar past previous highs

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
People are directed toward vaccination booths as they arrive to receive Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine booster doses at the vaccination center at the Kuwait International Fairground in Kuwait City on January 3, 2022.
YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFPPeople are directed toward vaccination booths as they arrive to receive Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine booster doses at the vaccination center at the Kuwait International Fairground in Kuwait City on January 3, 2022.

Gulf states reintroduce coronavirus restrictions as daily cases continue to climb

Daily coronavirus infection rates reported by Kuwait and Qatar have soared past previous peaks recorded in the summers of 2021 and 2020 respectively, as cases rise across all Gulf states.

Kuwait on Sunday reported 2,999 new cases of Covid-19, its fourth day of case numbers exceeding a high of 1,993 seen in July last year.

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Kuwait had seen below 50 daily cases during the last quarter of 2021.

Qatar, a small energy-rich state with a population of around 2.8 million, on Saturday reported 3,487 new cases — almost 10 percent of those tested — outpacing a previous high of 2,355 seen in May 2020.

In an effort to stem the tide of rising cases, Qatar on Saturday announced new restrictions, including reintroducing remote learning until at least January 27; limiting indoor gatherings to up to 10 vaccinated individuals, except for family members; and reducing public transport capacity to 60 percent.

Qatar also increased PCR testing capacity, including opening a new 10-lane drive-through PCR testing station to sample up to 5,000 people a day.

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The other Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates — also reimposed certain restrictions in response to a rise in Covid cases over the past weeks.

Last week, Saudi Arabia reimposed restrictions at the Grand Mosque in Mecca — setting a 10-day period between Umrah pilgrimages. 

The highly contagious omicron variant of Covid-19 is quickly spreading around the world, although early research into the heavily mutated strain indicates that its effects are less severe than previous versions of the virus.