Residents line up to get vaccinated in Kuwait city. Image Credit: AFP file

Cairo: Kuwait’s Health Ministry has decided to suspend holidays of all its workers, starting from Sunday until the end of January due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and emergence of the new highly transmissible Omicron variant, local media reported.

Kuwait on Wednesday announced detecting 12 more cases of Omicron in people coming from Europe, bringing the total such infections in the country to 13.

The country’s health authorities will take several steps if the Omicron cases surged, Al Jarida newspaper reported, citing well-informed health sources.

These measures include suspending non-emergency operations, opening more wards and intensive care units as well as the reinstatement of field hospitals, they said.

“The ministry is prepared to handle any potential increases in infections in the next days,” the sources said.

“Obtaining the booster shot is considered one of the most protective methods against the new variant, especially as we are about to enter the month of January, a season of viral diseases,” they added.

Around 313,000 people have so far received the booster jabs in Kuwait, Al Rai newspaper reported, quoting health figures.

Some 81.8 per cent of Kuwait’s population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it added.

Kuwait has expanded eligibility age for receiving the booster shots to citizens and expatriates above 16.

The country of around 4.6 million people has designated 18 more medical centres to obtain the booster shots, raising the total such facilities to 36.

A marked rise has recently been seen in the number of people showing up to receive the third dose of vaccines against COVID-19.

The Kuwaiti government has made receiving a booster shot against COVID-19 mandatory starting from January 2 for people who obtained the second dose of vaccination nine months ago.