May 2, 2020
“Foreign Assistance is not an end in itself. The purpose of aid must be to create conditions where it is no longer needed.”Barack Obama
Having sufficient knowledge of certain things will place you in an advantageous position. Especially to this novel pandemic that we are facing, we are currently receiving more studied information about its nature and the implemented guidelines to combat the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, we must help each other by sharing this information so we can end the pandemic soon.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health registered 242 new COVID-19 cases with three additional deaths and 101 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 4,619 cases with 33 fatalities and 1,703 recovered cases. Within the new cases, three are related to travel, 232 had contact with confirmed cases, and seven are under investigation. Currently, 2,883 patients are receiving medical treatment, while 69 are under the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
The Repatriation of the Nationals
Another batch of Kuwait citizens is set to return home through five flights. A total number of 1,476 citizens arrived at the Kuwait International Airport. To ensure the safety of their arrival, the Health Minister inspected the airport to prepare the establishment in receiving the repatriated nationals. The video shows the medical staff equipped with complete personal protective equipment and medical supplies.
It is good that the Kuwait authorities are extensively preparing for the arrival of the Kuwait nationals. There will always be a possibility that an individual will be carrying the virus. Therefore, careful precautions must be observed to prevent any COVID-19 infection caused by international flights.
The Situation of the Communities in Kuwait
As the implemented curfew continues, the Kuwait authorities distributed food packages for the citizens and residents of Bneid Al-Gar and Hawally. The distribution in Bneid Al-Gar is well organized. I am thankful that the authorities facilitated the distribution as they strictly impose physical distancing measures. In Hawally, long queues are evident with distances between each line. However, people are not distanced from each other within the line. With these small improvements, I hope that we can keep these distributions in an organized manner practicing the precautionary health measures.
While some establishments remain open during this health crisis, its employees are at high risk of contracting the virus. The Gulf Bank today announced that their one employee in Sabahiya branch tested positive to the COVID-19 disease. The good thing is that he is currently in stable condition and is taking all the necessary treatment for his recovery.
The same situation happened in the National Bank of Kuwait in its Mishref branch as one of its employees contracted the virus. Therefore, the management released an announcement based on to its customers.
Sharing of Medical Knowledge Against Coronavirus
The significant efforts of the Kuwait government in containing the virus is very commendable. An expert team composed of eight members from China visited the country of Kuwait. Each of them specializes in different medical fields such as infectious disease, virus testing, intensive care, respiratory disease, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Upon inspecting the country’s response against the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the medical team, Ruan Yuesheng, admired the authorities’ implemented measures. He believed that Kuwait could achieve good results.
The country’s Ministry of Health conducted several meetings with the Chinese experts and Kuwait’s medical sectors as they exchanged in-depth medical experiences about the measures needed for testing, treatment, quarantine, prevention and controlling the coronavirus outbreak.
Ruan also affirmed that they also visited medical field sites, including the epidemic testing centers. With that, he lauded how the Kuwait government stresses the great importance of imposing their guidelines for prevention and control to the spread of Coronavirus. The authorities also prepared their process of testing, treatment, and quarantine management properly.
However, Kuwaiti experts managed to learn the anti-epidemic measures of China, for they were the first ones to encounter the outbreak. Ruan further cited that they also learned the good practices of Kuwait. It includes their management of the people who arrived from abroad and the country’s establishment of temporary COVID-19 testing centers. He noted that these practices are creative and innovative that is worth it.
On the other hand, the United States Food and Drug Administration officially authorized the treatment of COVID-19 patients with the investigational drug Remdesivir. However, it is only for emergency use for patients with a severe conditions.
I am glad that we slowly see the hope of COVID-19 treatment. Even if there is no official drug recommended by the World Health Organization, many candidate drugs are present but need further research.
For the vaccine, the Irish edition says that vaccines will not be available until 2036 despite the claims of Chinese scientists that a vaccine will be available this summer. Naturally, establishing vaccine production takes over ten years, including the process of clinical research trials, manufacturing, and distribution. According to the New York Times show, typical vaccine research and approval takes 16 years before the government approves its wide distribution.
Even without a vaccine, the implemented measures of the government are quite effective in containing its spread. In Mirqab, the Ministry of Health begins conducting field coronavirus testing in its four buildings. More than 1,000 workers occupied within the buildings. It is an excellent job that they tested these workers to identify potential COVID-19 patients.
Despite all these factors, we shall not lose hope as we fight against the COVID-19 disease. Even if a vaccine will not be available soon, the authorities and health professionals have their skills and implement measures that we can rely on to prevent contracting the disease. Today marks the 42nd day of the curfew and 10th day of the Ramadan. Absolute compliance is needed for each one of us.
Public Advisory of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
In Kuwait, the Philippine Embassy officially published another public advisory about the temporary closure of all the Philippine Airports on the incoming international flights. The advisory seeks to inform everyone that the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) declared the temporary closure of all the country’s airports, resulting in the halting of incoming international flights both chartered and commercial. The authorities will implement it starting Sunday of May 3, 2020.
However, the ordered closure will exempt all cargo, utility, and maintenance flights. For its reopening soon, the authorities still did not give its scheduled date. The Embassy advised all affected Filipinos in Kuwait to contact their travel or airline agency to rebook their flights. Therefore, postponing the date of their travel plans is the best option to avoid any inconvenience while traveling to the Philippines.
Successful Return of the Repatriates
In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported 156 new COVID-19 cases with 24 additional deaths and 40 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 8,928 cases with 603 fatalities and 1,124 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
The Department of Foreign Affairs logged on 34 new COVID-19 cases of Filipinos abroad with five additional deaths and ten recoveries. It brings to a total number of cases to 1,741 with 207 fatalities and 466 recovered cases. According to the latest figures, the DFA receives an average of six new deaths and 11 further recoveries daily. DFA Assistant Secretary Eduard Meñez said that they hope to receive more recoveries and zero fatalities soon as we beat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreover, the DFA affirmed the arrival of 358 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from various countries abroad. Our repatriates at four different flights arrive on Thursday afternoon until late evening on April 30, 2020. The repatriates are composed of the following:
- 280 are land-based OFWs from Jeddah and Riyadh of Saudi Arabia
- 25 are seafarers of MSC Magnifica from Marseilles, France
- 19 are tourists and OFWs from Duba of United Arab Emirates
- 18 are undocumented OFWs from Italy
- 15 came from the Philippine Embassy shelter in Doha, Qatar
- One is an engineer from Lahore, Pakistan
As of now, 23,729 Filipinos managed to return to the country since February, where the first batch of repatriates from Wuhan, China, successfully came back home.
The efforts of the Philippine government in returning our fellow Filipinos are very commendable. However, their mission still has not ended yet. More OFWs and non-OFWs will be coming home soon. Therefore, I pray for their safe travel amid this coronavirus pandemic.
“Ang taong matutuwid, may suliranin man, sa tulong ni Yahweh, agad maiibsan.”Awit 34 : 19
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