April 25, 2020, Saturday
“It takes courage and tremendous mental horse-power to see through and mine the treasures hidden in any crisis. It all depends on our mental attitude towards the whole ordeal. In every evil, there is a hidden good to be sought out.”― Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 278 new COVID-19 cases with 43 additional recoveries, and four further coronavirus death being recorded. This brings to a total tally of 2892 cases, with 656 recovered cases and 19 deaths.
Within the new instances, thirteen were related to travel with 10 of them being Kuwaiti nationals who went to the United Kingdom and another 3 Kuwait nationals who traveled to France Two hundred and fifty-two of them had contact with confirmed cases with 13 being Kuwaiti nationals, 109 instances of Indian residents, 31 cases of Bangladeshi residents, 51 cases of Egyptian residents, nine instances of Filipino residents, 6 Pakistani residents, 5 Syrian residents, 11 N.K. residents, 2 Sri Lankan residents, 2 Lebanese resident, 2 Jordan residents, 1 Russian resident, and one case of an Iraqi resident. Other cases include 10 cases Kuwaiti nationals, and 3 N.K. residents.
Two thousand, two hundred and seventeen patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 58 are in the intensive care unit with 25 cases being critical; another 33 are stable in the last 24 hours, and four more cases being transferred to the ICU and another two to the ward. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Coronavirus Status in Kuwait
Today marks the 45th day of the quarantine, the 35th day of curfew, and the 3rd day of the Ramadan. Since then, the Kuwaiti Minister of Health, Dr. Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah, announced in a statement to the press that Saturday efforts were currently ongoing to cut quarantine restrictions as much as possible. However, work resumption is unlikely after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. He also announced that the government would be installing a new quarantine facility, which is the first face of a medical facility that houses 1,250 beds and a field hospital. Furthermore, a whole quarantine center with a total capacity of 5,000 beds would go into service by the end of next May.
The Health Minister also pointed out that another fully equipped medical facility in the Fairground of the Mishref area which was said to contain another 250 beds. He also stressed out the importance of following the precautionary health guidelines set by the Ministry of Health, which generally include the regular washing of hands, avoid touching the face, maintaining social distancing, and wearing face masks. He also denied certain rumors regarding the rise of COVID-19 infections among medical staff and regarding such stories as false information.
This Saturday, the Ministry of Public Works and Minister of State for Housing Affairs, Dr. Rana Al-Fares, released a statement that announced the transferal of a section of the Jaber Al-Ahmad Sports Stadium quarantine to the Ministry of Health. This initiative was a move that served to support the efforts of the government and relevant health authorities in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Health Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah was present in the turnover event, and she also praised the Kuwait Red Crescent Society for its invaluable assistance in the installation of the quarantine facility and praised the front liners who have made great sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic.
According to a statement released by the Ministry Undersecretary Ismail Failakawi, the quarantine facility was built in a short period of three weeks. This quarantine center caters to a wide variety of medical facilities, which include a field medical center, dormitories for medics and nurses, 5,000 beds, intensive care units and pharmacies He explained that the delivered section included 1,250 beds adding that the other groups would be turned over at a later time.
The Kuwait Red Crescent Society has yet again participated in the humanitarian effort to deliver approximately 7,000 iftar meals daily during the current fasting month of Ramadan in a bid to help ease the suffering of the needy throughout the many regions of Kuwait.
In a statement released to the Kuwait News Agency, the Kuwait Red Crescent Secretary General Maha Al-Barjas announced that these food relief packages would be distributed among the laborers and low-income residents in Mahboula, Khaitan, Al-Amiri and Al Sabah Hospitals, medical warehouses, Kuwait University, and the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate.
Al Barjas has also called upon the kind hearts of the private companies and other well-off individuals of Kuwait to assist in the efforts to providing food for the needy, especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan. She has also praised the volunteers who are giving their best efforts and contributions during the hot summer climate of Kuwait in order to help those in need.
Updates on the Repatriation Efforts
As of today, the Ministry of Interior has continued receiving the undocumented Sri Lankan nationals. However, it was noticed that expatriates from the Sri Lankan community had a very low turnout rate in these amnesty processing centers. Nevertheless, the Ministry has announced to the public that they will begin receiving all undocumented expatriates and also encouraging them to take advantage of the amnesty program currently being offered by the Government of Kuwait. Those who do so will be given a free trip nack to their homes without paying any fines and even be allowed to return to Kuwait legally.
Precautionary Measures on Mosque Opening
This Saturday, the MP Adedl Al-Damkhi released a statement to the press, which announced his suggestion of opening the mosques for prayers and worship during the Holy Month of Ramadan, albeit with the strict implementation of the quarantine guidelines and precautionary health measures. He also said that the relevant authorities are already contemplating on the re-opening of the markets while they implemented an extension of curfew hours to which he described such decisions to be contradictory. In rebuttal of these measures, he pointed out that the cooperative societies of Kuwait have proven that they would always play a vital role in providing essential goods and services to the citizens of Kuwait, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, he argued that for this very reason, privatizing the vital cooperative sector is a move that compromises the security of the nation and the delivery of essential foodstuffs and consumer goods. He warned that any minister who pushes for the privatizing of these cooperative societies would be subject to grilling.
In addition, M.P.’s Osama Al-Shaheen and Muhammad Al-Dallal submitted the following recommendations:
- Allow the performance of prayers in the principal mosque of each area provided that the number of worshippers is limited only to three and observe the stringent health measures set by the health authorities.
- Turn on the outdoor microphones with medium volume to spread the unique religious atmosphere of the Ramadan.
- Grant special subsidy to companies with a considerable number of workers in order to help them in paying the wages of their laborers as a way of helping mitigate the risks and repercussions of the suspension of payments
- The Ministry of Social Affairs should grant special allowances to those who benefit from the social allowance in order to help them face and cope with the economic fallout brought by the pandemic.
Violations During Quarantine
As of this Saturday, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry released a statement to the press, which announced citations on seven retail stores that were found to be in violation of the rules and regulations set by the government regarding the procedures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In a statement to the Kuwait News Agency, This came in light of the 132 complaints received via the hotline 135 and seven other complaints through control centers.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that their inspection teams monitored the 203 cooperative societies, supermarkets, retail stores, and vegetable shops in order to ascertain their commitment to maintaining the appropriate prices of consumer goods and products during the pandemic.
Furthermore, they also examined the 61 catering branches in order to ensure the swift delivery of sales and goods to their beneficiaries and constituents.
Updates from the Philippine Embassy
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 102 new COVID-19 cases with seventeen additional deaths and thirty recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 7,294 cases with 494 fatalities and 792 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has recently released an announcement which seeks to inform the Filipino community in Kuwait that due to the disruptions in the delivery of passports by the Department of Foreign Affairs following the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon, there may be delays in the availability of some of the new passports to be released by the Embassy from March 2020 onwards.
The Philippine Embassy has released another statement regarding the amnesty program by the Government of Kuwait appealing to all undocumented Filipino Expatriates whose residency permits have already expired and also Filipinos with absconding cases to continue applying to the above-mentioned program. Those qualified are to proceed to the processing centers in Farwaniya on the 26th until April 30, 2020, from 8 AM until 2 PM.
Men and women will have separate processing centers with men being designated to the Muthanna Primary School for Boys, which on Farwaniya, Block 1 Street 122, and women on Farwaniya Primary School for Girls, which is on Farwaniya Block 1, street 76.
Once approved, however, the amnesty grantees will no longer be allowed to leave the processing center. Thus it is advised that they collect all their belongings and finish any prior businesses before doing so. They will then be sent to a temporary shelter up until the time of their departure.
Not all new passports will be affected in this delay, but regardless, the Embassy wishes to remind the public that the release of new passports is only for emergency cases, especially to those whose passports or residence visas have already expired. Passport claiming for non-emergency cases will resume once the official holidays in Kuwait are over.
I wish to encourage everyone who still has absconding cases or expired residency permits to continue applying for the amnesty program given by the Government of Kuwait, which is in the following locations. They will only be open from 26th until April 30 from 8 AM until 2 PM.
In order to apply for the Amnesty Program in the Areas of Farwaniya and Jleeb Al-Shuyuokh, simply bring your valid passport and your luggage not exceeding a 20 kg check-in baggage and one 7kg hand carry bag.
To those who are unable to procure a passport, simply go to the Philippine Embassy in order to avail of a travel document and bring three passports sized I.D. photos with a blue background and a photocopy of their civil I.D. or entry visa.
I wish the people of Kuwait and all our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Philippines and all over the world a blessed and happy Ramadan. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, I am thankful for the efforts done by the Government of Kuwait, the Philippine Embassy, and also to the Kuwait Red Cross Society in helping ensure the welfare of Kuwait’s citizens and expatriates as they continue to find ways to survive during this lockdown. This is emblematic of the true spirit of Ramadan, and I am grateful for the generosity that they have shown to the poor and needy of Kuwait.
As we spend this period of fasting and prayer in isolation, I encourage everyone to please be mindful of their mental health, especially during these trying times. Although the pandemic has imposed some restrictions upon our freedoms, we can always observe the Ramadan and Tarawih at home. Likewise, Taleem can be done with your loved ones and an immediate family member in a similar setting, but it is essential to observe social distancing. We must also take the active effort in strengthening our bodies by eating healthy meals at the end of the fast, and although we are not allowed to our usual places of worship, we can always use the technology that is readily available to us as a platform through which we can connect and celebrate with other during the Ramadan.
I wish everyone prosperity and success, and as we continue to combat the spread of the coronavirus, may Allah grant those in need with peace and happiness and hopefully ease their sufferings.
Ang kapayapaan ay iniiwan ko sa inyo; ang aking kapayapaan ay ibinibigay ko sa inyo: hindi gaya ng ibinibigay ng sanglibutan, ang ibinibigay ko sa inyo. Huwag magulumihanan ang inyong puso, ni matakot man.Juan 14:27
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