April 16, 2020, Thursday
“We must keep our heads high, stay positive, move forward, and roll with the punches. With that, trust the battle. Trust the struggle. Trust yourself. Trust it, and know you can create your own strength. You have the power to persevere.”– Alex Cucchiara
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 119 new COVID-19 cases with 19 additional recoveries, and no further coronavirus death being recorded. This brings to a total tally of 1524 cases, with 225 recovered cases and three deaths. Within the new instances,
Four were related to travel with two cases of Kuwaiti nationals traveling to the United Kingdom, and 2 cases related to travel in the U.S. One hundred and two of them had contact with confirmed cases with 4 being Kuwaiti nationals, 68 cases of Indian residents, 12 instances of Bangladeshi residents, two instances of Pakistani residents, 1 Nepali resident, six instances of Egyptian residents, 5 Filipino residents, 3 Jordanian residents, and 1 Sri Lankan resident.
Thirteen are currently under investigation with one case of a Kuwaiti national, five instances of Egyptian residents, and seven instances of Indian residents. One thousand, two hundred and ninety-six patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 32 are in the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Accommodations for Expatriate Workers
Today marks the 36th day of quarantine and the 26th day of the curfew. Since then, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company released a statement that they have already made efforts to prepare living spaces for at least 7,000 expatriate workers by building three temporary centers that were placed throughout the country. The Deputy Chairman of Projects and the official spokesperson for the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Abdullah Al-Ajmi, said that this project comes in light of their response towards the cabinet’s directives and framework of contributions by their company to support the Government of Kuwait in helping fight the coronavirus.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works, the three designated sites for the temporary shelters would be areas of Al-Ardiya, Al-Jahra, and South Al-Sabahiya areas. According to the Ministry, these places are the ones who currently possess the capabilities and equipment with the necessary facilities and personnel, which are needed to receive large numbers of laborers and provide them with decent and humane living conditions.
This Thursday, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah visited a field hospital installed by the National Guard together with the help of the Ministry of Health in the Al-Mahboula Area. In this endeavor, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh, and the National Guard Undersecretary Lieutenant General Al Rifai joined him.
During the tour, His Highness, the prime minister, examined and listened to the hospital’s medical and health services reports regarding the status of the specialized clinics and operation centers stationed in the area. He also expressed his admiration for the exceptional efforts done by the constituents of the National Guard not only in the implementation of quarantine protocols but also in supporting the emergency plans made by the government. Furthermore, he also pointed out the importance of the National Guard in society, even saying that the organization represented a fundamental pillar and a pivotal role in helping those in the Ministry of Interior with the security and safety of all the government sites during this crisis.
Likewise, Al-Mousa expressed that all employers are under a legal obligation to pay for the salaries of their laborers throughout the partial or full suspension of work during the quarantine, citing Article 61 of the Labor Law. This was after he received complaints from employers regarding the harm that the quarantine has caused to their respective businesses. Furthermore, he announced that the Authority is unable to take any action in this regard as long as there is a clear law which article to such effect. The solution lies with the Council of Ministers or through an amendment to the law through legislation so that justice is done to all – employers and employees.
In a report by the Al-Seyassah Daily, The Governor of Farwaniya Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Sabah held a meeting in his office with the security officials assigned within the governorate. These included the Director-General of Farwaniya Security and Directorate Major General Abdullah Al-Ali.
Throughout this meeting, they reviewed the overall security issues and the plans that the Governorate of Farwaniya implemented in helping with the effort to contain the spread of the emerging coronavirus. They also discussed the vital role of securitymen in implementing the decision for the complete lockdown of the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Area and also in implementing the curfew as well as the commitment of the citizens and residents in complying with the quarantine protocols. He also informed that the security officials had a pivotal role in ensuring the governorate’s peace and order and pointed out that they had a national duty and responsibility to the people of Kuwait in making sure they are safe and comfortable within their homes. He also urged the public to offer their cooperation with the government officials of the Ministry and the relevant authorities in contributing to the peacefulness of the city during the pandemic.
I am thankful for the extensive efforts of the government authorities of Kuwait and also to the securitymen and also for their commitment towards their duty to the people of Kuwait in their keenness to deal with all the challenges that the pandemic has brought upon them. They have always been present to help facilitate the needs of the people, such as providing them with the required food items and other consumer goods that are needed to live through the pandemic. Thus, I encourage everyone to offer their cooperation and assistance to all our security men in the implementation of the quarantine guidelines so that we may be able to lift some of the burdens that are placed on their shoulders. They are the unsung heroes of our pandemic, and as such, we have the civil and moral responsibility as law-abiding residents of Kuwait of staying at home and following the quarantine guidelines so that these honorable men can return home safely to their families.
Violations During Quarantine
This Thursday, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade and Industry released a statement which informed the closure of two retail stores, which violated the precautionary health measures set by the relevant authorities in helping curb the transmission of the coronavirus. They also sent inspection teams to closely monitor 286 cooperative societies, supermarkets, retail stores, and vegetable shops in order to make sure that they did not adjust the prices of their goods without permission. The said inspection teams also monitored 80 catering branches in order to ensure the smooth selling and transport of commercial products and foodstuffs to their customers. They also apprehended 12 retail stores for violating quarantine measures and have since then been issued warnings.
Subsequently, the security personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department have recently apprehended six Kuwaitis for holding a wedding reception during the partial curfew. This is in direct violation of the protocol set by the Council of Minister, which clearly bans social gatherings such as parties, weddings, or condolence meetings. The arrest came after one of the violators posted a video of the wedding online through a social media platform. The ceremony was held inside a residence in the Sabah Al-Ahmad area last week, which brought a large number of attendees. Those arrested include the groom, his father, and his brother. He has since then been delivered to the relevant authorities and released upon the delivery of a KD 1,000 bail and the signing of pledges of ethical conduct.
During this pandemic, I would like to remind everyone that there is a complete and utter need for us to abide by the laws that the Government of Kuwait has set in order to prevent the further spread of the virus. Although the quarantine has admittedly removed some of our freedoms, I encourage everyone to remain steadfast in our trust with the Government of Kuwait, for it is only by cooperating together that we may be able to bring an end to this crisis.
Updates from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 207 new COVID-19 cases with thirteen additional deaths and eighty-two recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 5,660 with 362 fatalities and 435 recovered incidents. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
This Thursday, The Ministry of Interior is currently granting expatriates with a temporary residence a three-month pardon effective between March 1 and May 31. This initiative was spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh. Those included in this program are no longer obliged to pay any penalty or fine.
The Philippine Embassy also appeals to OFW’s in Kuwait, whose Visa 17,18,20 and 22 expired before March 1 to join the amnesty program given by the Government of Kuwait before the deadline this April 30. Those who fail to do so will be subjected to pay for fines and be deported and be prohibited from entering Kuwait ever again.
Furthermore, the Philippine Embassy has released an announcement stating that all returning OFW’s both land and sea-based are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arriving on Philippine soil. This is in light of Resolution No. 23 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases released this April 13. They will be referred to a quarantine facility under the management of the Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine. Until such time they are prohibited from having any contact with their families. Although international flights from Kuwait are now operational after the month-long closure of its airport, the Embassy also wishes to advise the Filipinos in Kuwait to reconsider their travels due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon and in multiple areas in the Philippines
Both the Government on Kuwait and the Philippine Embassy have worked hard together to help the stranded members of the Filipino community in Kuwait return home. Not only has the Ministry been compassionate and considerate with its repatriation protocols, but they have also seen fit to provide our Filipino brothers and sisters with sustenance and means to survive in this pandemic.
I am genuinely grateful for the generosity and hospitality that the people of Kuwait have shown towards us in the middle of this pandemic. Although we all face our own personal challenges in this crisis each in our own way, we continue to foster the bonds of friendship and solidarity between both the Philippines and Kuwait. As we all continue to persist in our efforts to thrive in this pandemic, we should always be reminded that God is always with us every step of the way and even as we continue to face our daily challenges and adversaries, we must always keep the faith and hold onto the hope that there is always a light at the end of every tunnel.
Kundi kung paanong kami’y minarapat ng Dios upang pagkatiwalaan kami ng evangelio, ay gayon namin sinasalita; hindi gaya ng nangagbibigay lugod sa mga tao, kundi sa Dios na sumusubok ng aming mga puso.1 Mga Taga Tesalonica 2:4
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