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Kuwait's Covid-19 response "decisive, rapid, comprehensive" - WHO

Interview by Mohammad Al-Kandari KUWAIT, May 21 (KUNA) -- The State of Kuwait's response against Covid-19 has been "decisive, rapid and comprehensive," and succeeded in assessing risks which thus improved ability to address shortcomings, World Health Organization said.
Kuwait, since the start of the coronavirus crisis, formed three high-level committees which boosted monitoring system against pandemic, Dr. Abdulnasser Abu Baker, Director of Infectioius Hazard Manage Prgram at WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, said.
Kuwait, he said in an interview with KUNA, activated pandemic prevention protocol in hospitals which were equipped to deal with disease, in addition to adopting important measures to establish and manage a database system.
Kuwait, said Abu Baker, also strengthened active monitoring in border crossings, hospitals and clinics.
The country collected data of all people coming from infected countries, trained health workers at frontlines, traced people who came into close contact with infected persons to isolate them in quarantine, as well as isolating and treating infectees, and raising public awareness about virus, he said.
Abu Baker expressed gratitude for Kuwait for its donation to WHO to help it fight the pandemic.
This donation, he said, "helped us reach the segments in need of health care," operate damaged health facilities and plug funding gap.
Asked about the peak of the coronavirus, Abu Baker said it varied among countries and regions around the world depending on course of virus, how fast countries implemented preventive measures and people's compliance with health instructions.
"The curve is rising in most of the world's countries and we cannot predict the time of the peak," he said.
He noted coronavirus infections began relatively late in East of the Mediterranean region but the last week witnessed a surge in cases in 19 countries but slightly dropped in three nations.
Abu Baker was asked about a drug of a vaccine against the pandemic and said this process would take between 12-18 months.
He said there were around 80 vaccines being tested, six of them in clinical trials.
He, meanwhile, warned against hasty lifting of restrictions in order to avoid a second wave of the virus.
"We warn against lifting preventive measures before having proper conditions that make us feel safe to lifting the measures or easing them gradually," he said.
Abu Baker said physical distancing and isolation have proven successful in preventing the spread of the virus within society.
The stay-home rule, partial closure of institutions, schools, places of worship and workplace, as well as curfew and lockdown are effective tools against the virus, he said.
"Behaviors of individuals have a great role in addressing the pandemic," said Abu Baker.
The WHO official described the Government of Kuwait's repatriation of around 35,000 citizens as "positive" coupled with a set of measures designed to prevent spread of the disease among the returnees.
WHO is keen on knowing how countries carry out accurate risk assessments, he said, and "we recommend placing people being repatriated in quarantine." Abu Baker said technology compensated social distancing, promoted awareness over the virus, connected people thus ended the isolation. (end) mak.bs