April 11, 2020, Saturday
When it comes right down to it, the only way to face a crisis that makes any sense at all – is together. And the single direction to face – is up.– Phil Callaway
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 161 new COVID-19 cases with 38 additional recoveries. This brings to a total tally of 1154 cases with 161 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 31 of them were related to travel, with 17 of them being Kuwaiti nationals who went to the United Kingdom, 9 Kuwaiti nationals who traveled to Germany, 3 cases of Kuwaiti citizens who traveled to the U.S., 1 case of an N.K. resident who went to the United Kingdom, and 1 case of an Indian resident traveling to Egypt.
One hundred and four of them had contact with confirmed cases with 4 being Kuwaiti nationals, 101 cases of Indian residents, 15 instances of Bangladeshi residents, 1 case of Pakistani resident, 1 Saudi resident, 1 Jordanian resident, and 1 Filipino resident. Six are currently under investigation with one case of a Kuwaiti national, 1 Egyptian resident, 2 cases of Indian residents, 1 case of a Bulgarian resident, 1 Filipino, and 1 Egyptian resident. One thousand and twenty patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 27 are in the intensive care unit, and no additional coronavirus deaths were recorded. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Plans to Implement Full Curfew
Today marks the 31st day of the quarantine and the 21st day of curfew, and as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Kuwait, the government seeks to further implement more stringent measures in containing the spread of the virus. These measures include the implementation of a full curfew and the recruitment of additional medical personnel and the resumption of State department services in a remote manner. This is due to an announcement by the Kuwait Ministry of Health stating that 161 people were infected within the last 24 hours. Health Ministry Spokesperson Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad also added that 27 of these patients were admitted to the ICU. So far, 1,445 individuals have already finished the quarantine, and only one death has been reported.
The Areas of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh are still currently under lockdown, but the Ministry has seen that its residents are provided with enough food and medical supplies. His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has also released a statement that the number of quarantine passes will be cut down in half in an effort to restrict travel during the hours of curfew and has since then assigned the Ministry of Interior to facilitate in its distribution. The government has also initiated efforts to plan for the resumption of work in various sectors of the country, although these are to be done online. It has already assigned the Ministries of Health and Finance to make sure that all health workers are paid during the pandemic.
The Ministry of Electricity and Water also released a statement on a press conference that the power services in the central station of Al-Qadsiya have been restored as of today after it was stopped because of a failure in one of its transformers. The Ministry sent fire brigades to the sector to reinforce the emergency teams that were tasked to restore the power to the station. A reported loss of 19.3 MW led to the interruption of the power distribution in the said area. The Acting Minister of Oil and Electricity and Water Minister Dr. Khaled Al-Fadil, along with a number of his colleagues, were managed in the repairs and were quick to go to the site as soon as the communication was received.
I am thankful for the Kuwaiti Government’s swift and efficient response towards the ongoing pandemic. Not only have they facilitated in the implementation of the health and security measures during this quarantine, but they are also continuously finding ways to cater to the needs of its citizens more effectively. I am truly humbled by their compassion and generosity and do hope that they remain fervent in their desire to bring about the betterment of the people of Kuwait.
Safe Living Spaces for Laborers in the Pandemic
The need for greater living spaces has risen dramatically through this pandemic, as social distancing becomes a requirement for the more densely populated and labor-intensive areas of Kuwait. In this regard, several Kuwaiti company owners and factories, along with the Public Authority for the industry, have begun the initiative to create safe living spaces for factory workers in the form of “Prefab Houses.” These companies have expressed their complete willingness to cooperate in the provision of warehouses, mobile hospitals, and immediate quarantines.
In a statement by the CEO of Speedhouse Factory Management Engineer Haman Al-Anzi, who manages one of the projects of the National Small and Medium Enterprises Development, he emphasized that these homes are quick and easy to process since it makes use of cutting edge European technology which saves more than 80 percent of the time it takes when compared to building through normal means. The equipment and machinery perform most of the hard work, which involves using cement boards to cover the walls of the structure with thermal insulation, which offers extensive protection from Kuwait’s hot weather. He estimates that a thousand rooms can be installed within less than forty days, and if required, they can also cater to the needs of various government agencies in making field hospitals, government residences, and quarantine facilities either temporary or permanent.
The required machinery can be transported in and out of the work area, and the product life of the buildings can last up to 120 years and can be extended if need be. These buildings are also characterized by its low need for maintenance along with the easy installation of electrical and sanitary implements due to the openings made in the factory.
Violations During Quarantine
As of today, the Ministry of Interior released a statement that nine individuals were apprehended for the violation of the partial curfew this Friday. Out of the nine offenders, three were from the Capital Governorate, four hailed from the Hawalii Governorate, and the remaining two were from the Jahra Governorate.
In an inspection done by the Municipality of Murabak Al-KAbber Governorate of the Qurain and Al-Salem markets, two stores have been issued closure orders due to the fact that they did not follow the preventative measure set by the Ministry of Health in containing the spread of the virus. Another 50 stores have been issued warnings, and the Public Relations Department of the Kuwait Municipality has since then invited its citizens to call its 139 hotlines should they have any complaints regarding the municipality.
Updates from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 233 new COVID-19 cases with twenty-six additional deaths and seventeen recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 4,428 with 247 fatalities and 157 recovered incidents. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
The Philippine Embassy released a statement from its Twitter account, encouraging Filipino expatriates with absconding cases from the government to continue applying for the amnesty program offered by Kuwait. Those who avail of the program will be given temporary shelter and food until their departure, free tickets, and absolution from legal action and fines. They will also be given the opportunity to come back and work in Kuwait.
The applicants are instructed to bring their passports and baggage not exceeding a 20 kg check-in bag and another 7kg hand carry bag. Those who do not have passports are instructed to proceed to the Embassy from April 13 until the 30th, excluding Fridays and Saturdays from 9 AM to 11 AM. They must be able to procure three passports sized I.D. photos with a blue background and a photocopy of their Civil ID or entry Visa.
We should also be reminded that public gatherings are still prohibited during the quarantine, shopping malls, cafes cinemas, and parks are also closed until further notice. Areas under the jurisdiction of Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula are still under lockdown for the remainder of two weeks while the rest of the country is under a curfew from 5-PM until 6 AM daily.
I am truly grateful to the Philippine Embassy and the Government of Kuwait as they continue to pool their collective resources and efforts in helping our OFW’s return home. Time and again, they have never failed to support us in this time of need. I encourage everyone to follow the health guidelines set by the Government of Kuwait and remind our Filipino Expatriates to be mindful of their culture and traditions. During these uncertain times, I would like to remind everyone to stay safe, be healthy, and have faith that God will always provide for us in our need.
Ginawa kong parang isang diamante na lalong matigas kay sa pingkiang bato ang iyong ulo: huwag mo silang katakutan, o manglupaypay man sa kanilang tingin, bagaman sila’y mapanghimagsik na sangbahayan.Ezekiel 3:9
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