“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in."

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CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #44: The Emergence of COVID-19 Variants

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen-


Today marks the 313th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. The emergence of new coronavirus variants brings threats again in the whole world. Everyone is skeptical if the newly developed vaccine would give enough protection from these new emerging COVID-19 variants. Nevertheless, health experts remain hopeful that with further studies from these COVID-19 variants, vaccine producers can still develop vaccines designed for these variants.

While there is an increasing threat from these variants and unavailable vaccines as of this moment, the Kuwait government urges the public to remain its adherence to health protocols. Aside from that, the close monitoring of its COVID-19 case bulletin provides them helpful insights to support their reimplementation of some stringent measures.

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait as of January 18, 2021

The photo was taken from: Instagram: Kuwait MOH


The Ministry of Health of Kuwait reported 578 new COVID-19 cases with 440 new recoveries and two additional deaths. This brings to a total record of 158,822 confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of 18 January 2021, there are now 5,936 active COVID-19 cases with 53 serious cases.

Compared to last week’s data, the total COVID-19 confirmed new cases significantly increased. However, it is noteworthy to see that there was an increase in the number of recoveries But the total active cases significantly rise as daily reported new cases are increasing too.


Two female Kuwaitis are infected with U.K. coronavirus variant

Ministry of Health Spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Samad

This photo was taken from: www.kuna.net.kw


With the emerging threat of new coronavirus variants, Kuwait’s Ministry of Health regrets informing the public that two female Kuwaitis were infected with these variants. On 19 January, according to the Ministry of Health, two Kuwaiti female people who arrived from the United Kingdom were infected with a coronavirus variant.

The two people had PCR tests done before getting on the plane from the United Kingdom, but a PCR test done as they arrived at Kuwait International Airport revealed they were infected with the variant.

Dr. Al-Samad urged the public to abide by health protocols. He emphasized the essence of refraining from social gatherings and COVID-19 vaccine registration.


Additional KD 50 for the cost of PCR test

Passport and Boarding Pass

This photo was taken from: www.Traveller.com.au


Testing against COVID-19 is vital every time we travel. With the recent guidelines issued by the Kuwaiti government, it stated that an additional cost of KD50 will be added for your flight ticket to Kuwait. The additional KD 50 will be used for the cost of PCR tests upon arrival at Kuwait International Airport.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered airlines operating in Kuwait Airport to add the cost of the PCR tests that will be charged on all arrivals to Kuwait, in compliance with the recent decision by the Council of Ministers that airlines will be charging for PCR tests for arrivals.

The relevant authorities have agreed on a price tag of KD 25 per PCR test, with a total of KD 50 for two tests. Both PCR test fees will be attached to passengers’ tickets when they arrive in Kuwait. The testing duty will be handled by the local private sector to relieve the Ministry of Health of its existing workload.



180,000 expatriates recorded without visas in Kuwait

Expatriates wearing face masks while walking

This photo was taken from: Arab News


Due to the pandemic, some functions of government embassies were not available. This is the reason why 180,000 expatriates were recorded not to have secured their residency visas.

The country’s overall number of residency violators has exceeded 180,000 for the first time. This increased 38% from five months ago, owing to the fact that only some expatriates have taken advantage of amnesties that allow violators to depart with the prospect of returning with new visas.

It also reported that only a small number of violators have shown a willingness to fix their status after paying fines by leaving or shifting their residences.

According to security officials, the Ministry of Interior faces several challenges in coping with those who violate the residency law and those who have expired travel visas.

“The most notable hurdle is the continued travel ban on 35 countries, in addition to a lack of commitment by violators to correct their legal status and take advantage of the opportunities given to them for an entire year,” an anonymous source stated.

Violators have been advised to fix their status multiple times by the Ministry of Interior, but no response has been received. “Only 2,500 expatriates have benefited from the grace period that will end on 31 January and settled their status,” an anonymous source added.

The issue here is that these relevant government agencies must arrange a mass or scheduled renewal of residency visas almost free of charge. The pandemic might be the reason why people have failed to renew their residency visas due to the associated cost with it. But it is important to remember that we should comply with the rules of the state to avoid inconvenience.

Overall, Kuwait has a total tally of 158,822 COVID-19 cases while the Philippines have 502,736 total COVID-19 cases breaching the 500,000-mark. The Philippines have 26,839 total active cases. As of 18 January, 4 PM, the Department of Health announced additional 2,163 newly-reported cases, 85.8% of which are mild COVID-19 cases. Both countries are working hard to establish health protocols and protect each other’s health in their respective nations. It is now our obligation as individuals to take steps to prevent contracting the COVID-19 virus.


Brazil can be the breeding ground for new coronavirus variant

Brazil starts COVID-19 vaccination program

This photo was taken from: Bloomberg


As the world began to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines to its population, Brazil finally joined the nations that started inoculating its people. Brazil is one of the top countries with the most number of coronavirus infections in the world. In that case, Brazil is eager to vaccinate its citizens to gain herd immunity and stop the virus from spreading further.

On 18 January, Brazil’s nationwide coronavirus vaccination program has started offering a ray of hope in a country where political conflict, troubled health care system, and insufficient precautions have allowed the virus to spread.

However, the deployment is supposed to be extremely slow despite Brazil’s ongoing struggle with two new variants of the virus, at least one of which is more infectious and could be adding to the country’s recent spike in infections.

Following months of inaction, Brazil’s administration is rushing to obtain more vaccines. The shortage of vaccine doses is just one of several errors that have hindered the nation’s capacity to safeguard its citizens from the pandemic.

According to Brazilian scientists, new variants identified in Brazil could be leading to the virus’s revival there. Although virus mutations are normal, scientists suggest that hard-hit countries such as Brazil provide an ideal ground for new variants that could obstruct worldwide response efforts.

Open bars and restaurants in Brazil

This photo was taken from: IOL


Despite the spike in infections, bars and restaurants are still open, and face mask use has been inconsistent.

Brazilian boy not wearing a face mask

This photo was taken from: The New York Times


With Brazil’s COVID-19 response, they should think of re-strategizing their policies that may help in impeding the continuous growth of COVID-19 cases in their country. Prevention is better than cure, as they say. In order to prevent their country to detect a new variant of coronavirus from their land, they should strictly implement health measures to protect everyone else.


New COVID-19 screening method


COVID-19 Smell Test

This photo was taken from: Philadelphia Inquirer


Most of us know the uncomfortable feeling of undergoing swab tests. Especially when the testing apparatus starts to enter your nasal, you’ll just wish that no booger will be extracted. Kidding aside, a new research study found out that smell tests can be used as a screening method at public places that could significantly lower transmission of the coronavirus.

The smell tests consist of stinky pieces of paper to check if a person loses his/her sense of smell, a common symptom of coronavirus. According to some research, individuals who test positive for the virus lose their sense of smell in 50-90% of the patients.

Researchers claim that even if there are drawbacks, smell tests can be effective in reducing infection rates and they are inexpensive to produce (as low as 50 cents per test) and can be manufacture extremely quickly.

Indeed that the world is dynamically changing at a fast pace. With the emergence of coronavirus variants, we should remain steadfast in looking for solutions to avoid contracting the virus. All of us should continue working together to produce efficient vaccines and develop screening methods against COVID-19. As an individual, it is a huge contribution to adhere to health protocols always. We should remain hopeful that we will reach our path towards normalcy.



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