April 17, 2020, Friday
“We all have times when life feels hard; when we’re frustrated and tired and just want to hide away. If that is you right now, don’t worry – every caterpillar has to rest to become a butterfly, and you’ll soon find your wings again. In the meantime, let your Angels wrap you in theirs. You are so loved.”-Anna Taylor
The demographic pertaining to the population of medical personnel throughout the world is perhaps one of the most disproportionately affected individuals during this pandemic. Every day they risk their lives coming in contact with COVID-19 patients, conducting swab tests, and providing them the necessary life-saving treatment so that they can return their lives.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 134 new COVID-19 cases with 33 additional recoveries, and two further coronavirus death being recorded. This brings to a total tally of 1658 cases, with 258 recovered cases and five deaths. Within the new evidence, three were related to travel with three instances of Kuwaiti nationals traveling to the United Kingdom, Iran and the U.S. One hundred and twenty-six of them had contact with confirmed cases with 4 being Kuwaiti nationals, 63 cases of Indian residents, 14 instances of Bangladeshi residents, four instances of Pakistani residents, 4 Nepali residents, 20 cases of Egyptian residents, 3 Filipino residents, 3 Sri Lankan residents, 2 cases of N.K. residents and 1 case from each country, namely; K.S.A., U.S., United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Iran, China, Afghanistan, Comoros, and Cameron.
One thousand, three hundred and ninety-five patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 32 are in the intensive care unit with 16 cases being critical, another 16 are stable in the last 24 hours, and two more cases being transferred to the I.C.U. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Doctors Gearing up for Overseas Kuwaitis
Today marks the 37th day of the implemented quarantine and 27th day of curfew. Consequently, as the Kuwaiti citizens who were stranded abroad are now being expected to return the country, some 600 doctors of various specializations are currently being trained on how to safely and adequately conduct COVID-19 swab tests so that these repatriates can safely return to their families. As of now, The Health Ministry’s Public Health Department has spearheaded the initiative to organize intensive workshops and specialized lectures for medical teams who are to be deployed at the Kuwaiti International Airport in order to examine the returning citizens starting this April 19. More than 35,000 Kuwaiti citizens are willing to return home following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. The government has also reassured the public that the aforementioned medical personnel is now well equipped with the necessary skills and competencies in dealing with the emergency in a more professional model.
As of this Friday, the Ministry of Health has transferred 8 COVID-19 cases of Asian nationalities who were confirmed to be carrying the virus to the Mishref field hospital on the exhibition grounds. The eight people were staying in the same apartment in the Sharq area, which led to its transmission.
Relief Drive by the Kuwait Red Crescent Society
Today, The Kuwait Red Crescent Society, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, participated in the program to hand out 1,500-food baskets to the disenfranchised laborers in the Al-Mahboula area which is currently under lockdown because of the coronavirus.
The Kuwait Red Crescent’s Head of Public Relations Khaled Al-Zhayed released a statement to the press that their operations of handing out food supplies to the residents of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh have been ongoing ever since the lockdown began. Furthermore, he expressed that the Kuwait Red Crescent Society has always been steadfast in its conviction in providing humanitarian aid to those in need, particularly to the families in the Jahra and Taima areas who have been especially hit hard with the virus.
The Ministry of Interior has also released a statement announcing that until such time the quarantine is being implemented, activities conducted outdoors such as exercise is strictly prohibited within the boundaries of residential areas, farms, and chalets, especially during the curfew hours between 5 pm until 6 am.
The government authorities also reminded the public that anyone caught violating the quarantine protocols will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which also indicated that the imposed curfew included territorial waters and faraway locations such as farms. Furthermore, the General Administration of the Coast Guard of the Border Security sector is currently following the application of the partial prohibition law in the regional waters of Kuwait. As such, it has monitored some citizens who have rented boats and carried out picnics in Kuwaiti waters, which is in clear violation of the quarantine protocols.
I encourage everyone to cooperate with the health and precautionary measures set by the authorities in order to help bring an end to this pandemic. As it stands, our frontline workers, which include medical staff and security personnel are doing their best in providing both the citizens and expatriates the goods and services they need in order to make it through this crisis. Even as the Government of Kuwait, along with its subsidiaries and constituents, are continually upgrading and increasing their capabilities in helping mitigate the repercussions of the quarantine, it up to us, the citizens, and expatriates who are greatly responsible for the success of their collective efforts.
Updates from the Philippine Embassy
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 218 new COVID-19 cases with twenty-five additional deaths and fifty-two recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 5,878 cases with 387 fatalities and 487 recovered incidents. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
As of April 17, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has released a new public advisory regarding the financial aid currently being offered by the Department of Labor and Employment concerning the criteria and guidelines for those who wish to avail of the $200 package by the government.
Among those eligible for the financial package are those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdown, those who are classified under the “no work no pay” setup, and those individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are currently unable to go to work. These do not include O.F.W.’s who have had reduced hours at work, those currently availing of unemployment insurance, and those who have already received aid from the OWWA. In order to apply for the relief package, an application form must be submitted at the official website of POLO Kuwait at www.polo-kuwait.com. They must also be able to produce a valid passport/travel document, proof of unemployment, a verified work permit, and a case reference number for those undocumented O.F.W.’s. Those who lack any of the following will not have their applications processed, and the POLO shall examine these applications within five working days through email. When approved, the aforementioned $200 financial package will be delivered via money remittance as filled out in the application form.
With the health and financial measure and various social security nets legislated by both the Philippine and Kuwaiti Government, I believe that our disenfranchised Filipino Brothers in sisters back in Kuwait would finally be able to take the first step towards their repatriation and recovery. I believe these measures are of great assistance to the Filipino community abroad, and as such, I am entirely grateful to the Philippine Government and to the authorities of Kuwait.
Ang Panginoon naman ay magiging matayog na moog sa napipighati, matayog na moog sa mga panahon ng kabagabagan;At silang nangakakaalam ng iyong pangalan ay maglalagak ng kanilang tiwala sa iyo; sapagka’t ikaw, Panginoon, ay hindi mo pinabayaan sila na nagsisihanap sa iyo.Mga Awit 9:9, 10
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