April 1, 2020, Wednesday
“Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you. They can give you a value and self-esteem that is priceless.”-Scott Hamilton
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 28 new COVID-19 cases with seven additional recoveries. This brings to a total tally of 317 cases with 80 recovered cases. Within the new cases, three are related to travel, 22 had contact with confirmed cases, and three are under investigation. Two hundred thirty-seven patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 14 are in the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
The Gradual Implementation of the Curfew in Kuwait
Today marks the 21st day of the quarantine and the 11th day of curfew, and all around the world, stringent measures have been implemented to curb the rising cases of infection in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, the government has enforced a curfew from 5:00 pm to 4:00 am, and individuals who are found in violation of the curfew order will be imprisoned for up to three years and fined 10,000 KD. This move, however, has been tempered with some degree of compassion with government officials stating that only those in certain affected areas would be affected, and these changes would be implemented more gradually. However, if the cases should continue to rise, a complete ban on travel may be imposed. As of now, all handling workers from various malls and shopping cooperatives who are either from India are Bangladesh are being replaced with Kuwaiti volunteers, and the presence of security personnel has already been ramped up, especially during the day in order to enforce the curfew. According to the Arab Times, ” Areas such as Mahboula, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Al-Farawaniya, Khaitan and Hawallie were considered as areas having a dense population of workers and are under heavy security in order to restrict their movement.” Near these areas, there have also been requests to use the nearby schools as a place where the workers from these various shopping cooperatives can be held and accommodated so that security and health officials can more effectively enforce the curfew in a way that follows the necessary and appropriate health regulations.
The heavy presence of armoured vehicles was a move by the Ministry of Interior, which served to help reinforce security and to seal off the various entry points in the area and also to help apprehend who violate the night curfew and leave during the morning without a valid reason.
Government Measures to Address the Economic Repercussions of COVID-19
This Tuesday at the Seif Palace, a meeting with the Kuwait Cabinet was headed by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Haman Al- Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al- Saleh. Together they discussed the various measures that were undertaken by the state in light of the current pandemic and followed up on the social and economic repercussions that may follow. To do this, they reviewed objective, timely, and first-hand reports from various private sectors and government agencies.
Together, they worked hand in hand in rationalizing and formulating plans to lessen the disastrous impact of the pandemic on the economy. This included evaluating the readiness of the state in preserving the integrity of its economy, maintaining its credit rating, and also to provide measures to alleviate the negative effects of the quarantine in some of its economic sectors. The reports also clarified the basic principles in that represented the team’s perceptions which, first and foremost committed itself in ensuring social protection of its citizens, its commitment to full transparency in the implementation of its procedures and also providing various ways of support and facilities which are to be done by pouring investments in enacting the measures to bolster the structural reforms of the economy. However, the cabinet has also decided in the aforementioned meeting that there will be no compensation for corporate company losses and will only be providing soft loans to affected companies in all productive economic sectors.
Also, in a stunning bid of generosity, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on behalf of the Al-Sabah family, donated KD five million in order to help with a recently launched fund by the state to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic. He prayed for an end to the pandemic, not only for Kuwait but the entire world as well, wishing everyone their safety and prosperity in these dark times.
I fully appreciate the efforts of the authorities in implementing social security nets, formulating a detailed and comprehensive plan in tackling the economic fallout of the pandemic and, most of all, implementing the proper health and curfew guidelines in helping stop the virus.
Status of Undocumented OFW’s in Kuwait
As of today, the Ministry of Interior has observed a massive turnout and repatriation of undocumented Filipino workers due to the amnesty the state has offered to Filipino residence violators in Kuwait. This allows them to be able to leave the country and go home without having to pay for additional fines or travel costs. Up until April 5, undocumented residents can avail of this amnesty.
Repatriation of OFW’s
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 227 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional deaths and one recovery. It brings to a total tally of 2,311 with 96 fatalities and 50 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recorded 401 COVID-19 cases of Filipinos abroad with 118 recoveries, nine fatalities, and 270 patients, who are currently undergoing treatment. Within the death tolls, they recorded six cases from Europe, one from the Asia Pacific region, one from the Middle East, ten from Europe, and one from the Americas.
Due to the imposed restrictions on travel, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has reached out to all Filipinos to come home and avail of the amnesty program being offered by the Kuwaiti government. This was because of the Kuwaiti government’s announcement of an amnesty program on April 1 to further control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the kingdom.
Due to the extended amnesty, The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said 303 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returned from Kuwait Sunday midnight.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said over 500 amnesty grantees have arrived in the Philippines since April 1and not only would the amnesty grantees be allowed to leave Kuwait without paying any penalty or fine, they will also be given a chance to return to Kuwait anytime.
I am sincerely grateful to the authorities because this shows not only the Kuwaiti government’s seriousness in fighting the Covid-19 but also its benevolence to its more than three million expatriates, especially in this pandemic. My heart reaches out to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), for coming up with a well thought out amnesty program wherein the amnesty grantees will be given temporary shelter, with food and medical provisions, and one-way Kuwait Airways tickets to the Philippines—all at the Kuwaiti government’s expense. I have full confidence that both Kuwait and the Philippines can work hand-in-hand in helping our citizens during this pandemic, and I believe that we can all rest easy and put our trust in them.
Huwag kang matakot, sapagka’t ako’y sumasaiyo; huwag kang manglupaypay, sapagka’t ako’y iyong Dios; aking palalakasin ka; oo, aking tutulungan ka; oo, aking aalalayan ka ng kanang kamay ng aking katuwiran.
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