April 6, 2020 Monday
A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose poorly.– Desmond Tutu
All of us reserve the right to practice our religious freedoms and duties, most especially during these troubled times when we need God the most. However, doing so also provides itself with its own set of challenges since we are all tied in our homes during the pandemic.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 109 new COVID-19 cases with four additional recoveries. This brings to a total tally of 665 cases with 103 recovered cases. Within the new cases, eight were related to travel, 101 had contact with confirmed cases, and all in contact were under investigation. Five hundred sixty-one patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 20 are in the intensive care unit, with the first coronavirus death recorded. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Update on Ramadan Activities
Today is the 26th day of the quarantine and the 16th day of curfew and the Assistant Undersecretary for Cultural Affairs in the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Engineer Dawaood AL-Asousi has recently confirmed that Kuwait will not be conducting any Ramadan activities for the remainder of the year. He said that until the crisis comes to an end, any move to hold a prayer for Ramadan’s final ten days in the Grand Mosque of the State of Kuwait is suspended until the current pandemic is over. Once that happens, religious activities such as cultural lessons and congregational prayers would resume as per the orders of the Council of Ministers and other relevant authorities.
Al-Asousi also stated that the Ministry of Awqaf has already made various preparations for the celebration mentioned above at the Grand Mosque in collaboration with the Ministries of Interior, Health, Information, Youth Affairs, and Fire Sevices similar to the previous year. Furthermore, the decisions for the resumption of religious activities in the mosque depend entirely on the Cabinet stressing that the month of Ramadan one of goodness and mercy and must, therefore, pray to Allah for the swift recovery of not only Kuwait but also the world.
Quarantine Measures in Kuwait
According to the Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Bassel Al-Sabah, Kuwait is currently on the most critical and important phase in its fight against the pandemic, which is containment. We are currently in the containment phase, and he looks forward to overcoming this period with positive results. It is important to know the extent of the surrounding infection and determine those factors causing the cases to spread and then putting them in isolation and treatment along with the individuals who came in contact with already infected personnel.
He also affirmed the public that the health measures implemented by the government, such as washing hands, staying indoors, and practicing social distancing are all measures based on extensive meetings with medical professionals in the World Health organization and are not to be classified as mere reactions.
I urge everyone to follow these measures and cooperate and be patient not only for our sake but also with that of the general public. I also give my thanks to the individuals on the front lines of this pandemic, our security personnel and health workers for doing their best in fighting the virus. For their bravery and sacrifice, we cannot thank them enough.
The Minister of Interior has also announced that the Kuwait Government will now extend the current partial curfew by two hours as of Monday. It is now between 5 PM-6 AM, as well as a lockdown on the Areas of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. Furthermore, the Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh has announced that the curfew would be effective today. He also encourages the public to practice the health guidelines and to stay inside even after curfew hours. The lockdown in the Areas of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh will also begin today for two weeks so that the health workers would be able to carry out tests in these areas for the wellbeing of the public in general.
There has also been a heavy security presence in areas such as Farwaniya, Khaitan, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, and Salmiya. They help in verifying the data at checkpoints and ensure the implementation of the curfew among its citizens. Currently, the authorities are now following up infection cases more strictly as they have been confirmed to be roaming these areas 24/7 day and night. This was due to orders issued out by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh and Undersecretary Lieutenant Essam Al-Nahaam warning quarantine violators will receive legal action and will be punished under the law.
Further Updates on Repatriation
The Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh stated on a press release that the government would be granting all expatriates whose residency permits have expired, a grace period where they are allowed to leave Kuwait without paying any fines. However, he also warned that those who do not avail of this amnesty by the end of the grace period, which is at the end of this month, would no longer be allowed to return to Kuwait.
Today, the third batch of Filipino grantees that benefitted from the amnesty given by the Government of Kuwait has arrived on Manila. I am thankful for the collective efforts from both our governments for doing their utmost in ensuring that our kababayans abroad arrive home safely.
COVID Situation in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 73 new COVID-19 cases with eleven additional deaths and nine recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 3,660 with 163 fatalities and 73 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
In order to boost the country’s capabilities in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, local companies in the Philippines will produce 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment daily with support from the DTI. They will be working together with the Department of Health and other private firms and other industry associations in order to achieve this goal. The DOH and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) approved the design prototype for the PPEs. At the same time, CONWEP has secured a supplier for the raw materials, such as face hoodies and elastic bands, that are certified to have met international standards for waterproofing and resistance to contaminants. This is to ensure that the PPEs produced will be of “medical grade” and meet prescribed specifications for appropriate safety and protection.
Since the global community is currently under a pandemic, there has been a complete shortage of personal protective equipment for our doctors and other nursing staff. I am glad that the Philippine Government is proactive in the procurement of these tools in fighting the pandemic. This helps our medical professionals and our economy as well since local production is being boosted, and funds are now being directed to the sectors of society that need it the most.
Inyong sabihin sa kanila na matatakuting puso, Kayo’y mangagpakatapang, huwag kayong mangatakot: narito, ang inyong Dios ay pariritong may panghihiganti, may kagantihan ng Dios; siya’y paririto at ililigtas kayo.
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