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Ministry denies rumors of AIDS patient release

KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry refuted news reports suggesting that an AIDS patient was allowed to remain in Kuwait against protocols that call for deporting expatriates if tests reveal that they are HIV positive. Al-Rai reported yesterday that police released the Iranian man last August, and since then he has been receiving treatment at the Infectious Diseases Hospital.

But the ministry said in a statement yesterday that the man was deported after spending three months in the country in accordance with the required procedures in cases of expatriates infected with the disease. “The Citizenship and Passports Department is keen on making sure that all visa-related transactions are approved based on the health and security qualification of applicants,” read the statement released by the Security Media Department at the Interior Ministry.

The statement confirmed that medical tests signed by the Ministry of Health last September revealed that the man tested positive for HIV. His visa was extended for three months to finalize his procedures, during which he was put in quarantine at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, the ministry said. “The man was provided with medical care to prevent health complications, and was eventually deported after he completed his procedures and obtained his full rights,” the statement read.

Al-Rai claimed that the man escaped from the Infectious Diseases Hospital on April 18, 2013, 10 days after he was admitted there when his medical tests for visa procedures came positive for HIV. The man was arrested on Aug 29, 2014, after which police dropped charges against him and transferred him to the hospital again.

The report does not mention that the man was deported, however, and raised questions about the period during which he was allegedly at large before being arrested again. Another newspaper, Al-Anbaa, reported in the meantime that the man was deported after approval by Maj Gen Sheikh Faisal Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah, the Assistant Undersecretary for Passports and Citizenship Affairs

AIDS patients
Minister of Health Ali Al-Obaidi confirmed in the meantime that the man escaped from the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Aug 2013, and that the Interior Ministry was informed to arrest him. Obaidi’s remarks came in response to questions by MP Hussain Al-Quwaiaan regarding the number of AIDS patients in Kuwait, published yesterday by Al-Qabas. The minister said the man was one of 13 HIV positive cases in Kuwait, including six expatriates “whose files were referred to the Immigration General Department between January and October 2013”. The remaining six cases pertain Kuwaiti couples, the minister confirmed.

In other news, the Ministry of Health confirmed that a man was put in quarantine at Farwaniya Hospital under suspicion of being infected with MERS after he showed symptoms of the disease after arriving to Kuwait Saturday. The man was later released after tests came negative for the coronavirus, said Dr Jamal Al-Sultan, the Director of the Farwaniya Health Directorate. The man had arrived on a KLM flight from the United Kingdom, and was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure when a passenger pointed out that he had high fever, Al-Qabas reported. Around 80 passengers were held inside the aircraft for three hours until doctors at Farwaniya Hospital confirmed that the man was MERS-free.

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