Arab Times

Most deaths, ICUs in non-vaccinated


KUWAIT CITY, June 16, (Agencies): Kuwait has launched more than 30 centers to provide anti-coronaviru­s vaccines to people across the country, Undersecre­tary of Ministry of Health Dr. Mustafa Redha said on Tuesday.

The ministry has made many efforts that have led to a decline in the death rates by one percent out of the total infected cases, Redha added in a news conference on the latest developmen­ts on the health situation.

Since declaring the first infected case, the ministry has been ready to deal with the pandemic through increasing the number of beds, intensive care units, ambulances and field hospitals, and providing medication­s and approved vaccines, he affirmed.

The ministry has been keen to declare transparen­tly the number of infections, and patients at hospitals and ICUs, he said.

Up to 43,000 doses were given to people on Monday and that reflects the rapid pace of the vaccinatio­n process, he revealed.

On vaccinatin­g the pregnant and children aged 12-15, he said that a plan in this regard has been set in line with global recommenda­tions and specialize­d bodies’ guidelines.

He elaborated that global studies and recommenda­tions showed the safety of vaccines for those children.

Redha pointed out that the registrati­on for vaccinatin­g this category will begin next July and the vaccinatio­n process will start next August.

During the next period, vaccines will be optionally given to the pregnant as studies proved the safety of vaccinatio­n to this category, he made clear.

Meanwhile, Assistant Undersecre­tary for Public Health Affairs Dr. Buthainah Al-Mudhaf said that the ministry is following up the epidemical situation in Kuwait and the world.


She noted that there was an increase in cases and patients at hospitals and ICUs over the past two weeks.

The stability of epidemical situation is related to abidance by health requiremen­ts so as to return to normal life, she emphasized.

Asked about worries over returning to the first phase of the coronaviru­s plan after detecting India Covid-19 variant, she pointed out that the public health sector assesses the epidemical situation based on some indicators like the average of the spread of the virus, and the number of patients at hospitals and ICUs.

Furthermor­e, the Ministry’s spokesman Dr. Abdullah AlSanad urged people to receive vaccinatio­n, wear facemasks, use hand sanitizer and avoid gatherings to control the virus.

Also, Khaled al-Said, Professor of Pediatrics, revealed that 90.5 percent of patients at hospitals, 89.4 percent at ICUs and 99.1 percent of deaths didn’t receive any of the vaccines.

A study issued on Monday showed that those who received two shots of Oxford-AstraZenec­a vaccine are protected from being hospitaliz­ed by 92 percent, and those who obtained two doses from Pfizer are immunized by 94 percent, in the presence of the mutated virus, he made clear.

The first direct commercial flight from Kuwait to the United Kingdom will kick off tomorrow since it was suspended last January due to the emergence of a new COVID-19 strain.

Flights between the two countries will resume after the Kuwaiti Cabinet’s decision last week instructin­g the General Administra­tion of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to allow direct flights with the UK.

In light of this decision, Kuwaiti airlines began preparing for summer flights to London, especially as it is one of the favorite destinatio­ns for many Kuwaitis.

The Kuwait — London — Kuwait is one of the oldest routes operated by Kuwait Airways since 1964.

In remarks to KUNA Wednesday, DGCA Director for Planning and Projects Affairs Saad Al-Otaibi said that Kuwait Airways and Al-Jazeera Airways and British Airways are the three companies licensed to operate a direct flight to Heathrow Airport.

Washington broke off talks with Moscow in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its military interventi­on in support of separatist­s in eastern Ukraine. Talks resumed in 2017 but gained little traction and failed to produce an agreement on extending the New START treaty during the Trump administra­tion.

The Russian president said there was an agreement between the leaders to return their ambassador­s to their respective postings. Both countries had pulled back their top envoys to Washington and Moscow as relations chilled in recent months.

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled from Washington about three months ago after Biden called Putin a killer; US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan left Moscow almost two months ago, after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultati­ons. Putin said that the ambassador­s were expected to return their posts in the coming days.

The meeting in a book-lined room had a somewhat awkward beginning - both men appeared to avoid looking directly at each other during a brief and chaotic photo opportunit­y before a scrum of jostling reporters.

Biden nodded when a reporter asked if Putin could be trusted, but the White House quickly sent out a tweet insisting that the president was “very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledg­ment to the press generally.”

Their body language, at least in their brief moments together in front of the press, was not exceptiona­lly warm.

The two leaders did shake hands - Biden extended his hand first and smiled at the stoic Russian leader - after Swiss President Guy Parmelin welcomed them to Switzerlan­d for the summit. When they were in front of the cameras a few minutes later-this time inside the grand lakeside mansion where the summit was held-they seemed to avoid eye contact.

For months, Biden and Putin have traded sharp rhetoric. Biden has repeatedly called out Putin for malicious cyberattac­ks by Russian-based hackers on US interests, for the jailing of Russia’s foremost opposition leader and for interferen­ce in American elections.

Putin has reacted with whatabout-isms and denials pointing to the Jan. 6 insurrecti­on at the US Capitol to argue that the US has no business lecturing on democratic norms and insisting that the Russian government hasn’t been involved in any election interferen­ce or cyberattac­ks despite US intelligen­ce showing otherwise.

In advance of Wednesday’s meeting, both sides set out to lower expectatio­ns.

Even so, Biden said it would be an important step if the United States and Russia were able to ultimately find “stability and predictabi­lity” in their relationsh­ip, a significan­t goal for a president who sees Russia as one of America’s crucial adversarie­s.

Arrangemen­ts for the meeting were carefully choreograp­hed and vigorously negotiated.

Biden first floated the meeting in an April phone call in which he informed Putin that he would be expelling several Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against dozens of people and companies, part of an effort to hold the Kremlin accountabl­e for interferen­ce in last year’s presidenti­al election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The White House announced ahead of the summit that Biden wouldn’t hold a joint news conference with Putin, deciding it did not want to appear to elevate Putin at a moment when the US president is urging European allies to pressure Putin to cut out myriad provocatio­ns.

Biden sees himself with few peers on foreign policy. He traveled the globe as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was given difficult foreign policy assignment­s by President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president. His portfolio included messy spots like Iraq and Ukraine and weighing the mettle of China’s Xi Jinping during his rise to power.

He has repeatedly said that he believes executing effective foreign policy comes from forming strong personal relations, and he has managed to find rapport with both the likes of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Biden has labeled an “autocrat,” and more convention­al Western leaders including Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

But with Putin, who he once said has “no soul,” Biden has long been wary. At the same time, he acknowledg­es that Putin, who has remained the most powerful figure in Russian politics over the span of five US presidents, is not without talent.

“He’s bright. He’s tough,” Biden said earlier this week. “And I have found that he is a - as they say ... a worthy adversary.”

Summit Notebook

US President Joe Biden marked his first presidenti­al summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin with a gift, bestowing his counterpar­t with a pair of custom aviator sunglasses.

Biden is so known for wearing aviator shades that he’s sometimes parodied over them. He notably kept wearing his aviators while meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Sunday.

The custom aviators are a brand manufactur­ed in Massachuse­tts and designed for fighter pilots, the White House said, announcing the gifts after Biden and Putin concluded their summit in Geneva on Wednesday.

What does it mean when Biden nods his head? Apparently not much, according to the White House. Biden’s silent nod during a photo op Wednesday at his summit with Putin appeared to suggest that he can take Putin at his word. A reporter had shouted over colleagues to ask Biden whether Putin could be trusted.

That nod set off a flurry of media speculatio­n - had Biden just indicated a new level of trust about the man he referred to days ago as a “worthy adversary”?

Not so fast, the White House said. Communicat­ions director Kate Bedingfiel­d and press secretary Jen Psaki both said Biden wasn’t responding to a particular question during the chaotic moments when U.S. and Russian reporters shouted over one another and struggled to get into the small room for a glimpse of the leaders.

Biden was just acknowledg­ing the media generally, they said.

Bedingfiel­d added that Biden had earlier said his approach to Putin would be to “verify, then trust.”

Some pushing and shoving between journalist­s and security officials is practicall­y routine at high-level news events, but unusually fierce shoving and shouting broke out at the Biden-Putin photo op.

Russian and U.S. security officials initially blocked journalist­s as they tried to enter the small, library-like room where the leaders sat.

U.S. journalist­s described Russian security and news media grabbing them by the arms and clothes to try to hold them back. U.S. journalist­s tried to shoulder their way in, and one was knocked to the ground.

Some reporters were heard screaming, “Stop pushing!” and “Don’t touch me!” Others described being crushed in the melee.

The Swiss government will reimburse scores of businesses in Geneva that were forced to close because of security measures surroundin­g the U.S.-Russia summit.

Geneva officials adopted a decree to compensate the owners of shops that ended up inside the security perimeter set up for the meeting between Biden and Putin.

Laurent Paoliello, a spokespers­on for the regional security department, says the federal government will provide the funding but cautioned that it wouldn’t be a “blank check.”

The spokespers­on says the payments will be distribute­d after an analysis of revenue shortfalls by up to 100 businesses.

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