May 30, 2020
“We are more dependent on each other than we have ever been. We have an enemy in Coronavirus that is faceless, raceless, sexless, non-denominational, and bi-partisan. It’s an enemy that we all agree we are gonna beat.“-Matthew McConaughey-
In this time of the pandemic, we have experienced isolation and distance from each other. Despite these measures, I realized that we should not be distancing ourselves from one another but instead to build a barricade against the virus. Through this way, we can unite and defeat COVID-19 disease.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health reported 1008 new COVID-19 cases with 11 additional deaths and 883 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 26,192 cases with 205 fatalities and 10,156 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 287 are Kuwait citizens, 229 are Indian residents, 171 are Egyptian residents, and 133 are Bangladeshi residents. Within the areas, there are 324 cases in Al Farwaniyah, 215 in Al-Ahmadi, 196 in Al Jahra, 163 in Hawally, and 110 in the Capital. Among the residential areas, Al Farwaniya is the highest with 92 cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
Preparation for the First Phase
Following the newly implemented plan for return to normalcy, the Ministry of Interior announced further guidelines. Kuwait Director of Security Relations and Media Department at the Ministry of Interior, Brigadier Tawhid Al-Kandari, said that they would permit the transfer on May 31, 2020, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. They will also forbid the entry and exit of individuals permanently in the isolated areas directed by the health authorities. However, all supply outlets will continue to operate.
Within the isolated areas, citizens and residents can go outside and buy their needs during the allowed period. The authorities will allow them to visit the hospitals outside the isolated region with issued permits. When the partial curfew starts, the Interior Ministry will cancel all previously granted permits and allow the rescheduling for its issuance again if necessary. Lastly, the Ministry appeals to the community for its ardent cooperation in implementing preventive isolation.
The authorities continue their setting up of concrete barricades to the isolation areas. In the photo and video below, the security officers used heavy equipment and vehicles for the barriers. Moreover, they directed the security officials on specific areas, which they will secure. The Ministry of Interior will look after in Jleeb Al-Shuhyoukh, Mahboula, Nugra, and Hawally while the National Guard and Defense will take over Farwaniya and Khaitan area. As total curfew continues today, the Interior Ministry arrested nine violators, four are Kuwait citizens, and five are expatriates.
Additionally, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Civil Services Affairs, Dr. Fatima Al-Najjar affirmed the authorization of medical staff residing in isolated areas to enter and exit through its outlets. In coordination of the Ministry of Interior, employees working in civil medical sectors and civil sectors in dispensaries, centers, clinics, and medical laboratories can enter and exit the restricted areas with work IDs until 6:00 pm.
The authorities announced the reoperation of parallel markets between 6:00 am to 5:30 pm under the partial curfew. As the country will start its first phase, similar establishments will continue to operate in areas under full lockdown.
Reducing the Isolation Period
The Health Ministry decided to reduce the isolation period of 10 days for COVID-19 patients. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Mustafa Reda updated the policy for isolating patients with symptoms. Therefore, healthcare personnel will discharge them by completing their quarantine procedures.
Reopening of Flight Reservations
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced the reopening of flight reservations back into the country. It allows Kuwait citizens and their first-degree relatives along with their accompanying house workers or nannies to return. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they decided after the end of the repatriation plan, which is sponsored by the government. Following it, they notified the airliners and carriers about it.
Guideline for Filling Stations
The Kuwait National Petroleum Company released their guideline for the working hours of the Filling Stations during the implementation of partial lockdown. They changed the working hours so they can start from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm for stations listed below. The other stations will continue to work 24/7.
Public Advisories from the Philippine Embassy
The Philippine Embassy of Kuwait released another public advisory for the online appointment system of passport renewals and applications. It entails that passport application and renewal service will resume on Monday of June 1, 2020. However, they will limit the number of applications that the Embassy will cater for passport services through their online appointment system.
Passport applicants can book their appointment through this link free of charge. https://appointment.philembassykw.com/. The Embassy will accommodate them from 9:00 am to 11:00 am every day except on weekends. From that, they will not accept any walk-in applications.
Because the office is short of its staff, they can only accept, process, and receive payments for their applications. When the applicants receive their call, they will return to the office to complete their enrollment. On the other hand, for those residents with expired visas, they can apply for passport validity extension.
Along with the health precautions, the Embassy will not accept the ones who are not bringing their requirements, arriving 30 minutes before their appointed time and not wearing of facemasks within its premises. They advise all applicants to bring the exact amount of their application fee, which is KD19.500 for passport application or renewal and KD 26.000 for both passport renewal and validity extension.
The Embassy appeals to the Filipino community to give way to other fellows who need to renew or apply their passport to renew residence visas. In this COVID-19 crisis, they call the essence of Bayanihan. Lastly, they urged the Filipinos to abide by the implemented measures strictly.
Today marks the 67th day of the curfew and 19th day of the total lockdown. I commend the country of Kuwait for doubling its efforts to contain the virus. Being stringent within the isolated areas is a must to prevent any violators of the implemented curfew. In this way, the number of COVID-19 cases will significantly reduce.
Special Treatment for OFWs in Philippines
In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported 590 new COVID-19 cases with eight added deaths and 88 recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 17,224 cases with 950 fatalities and 3,808 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 252 are fresh cases, while 338 are late cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the number of cases decreased.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced 24 new COVID-19 cases of Filipinos abroad with 28 additional recoveries. It brings to a total number of 2,869 cases with 340 fatalities and 975 recovered cases. Based on the recent figures, Europe and the Middle East have the highest number of Filipino cases. Asia and the Pacific have the lowest quantity of cases with a high rate of recoveries, and the Americas have the highest standard of fatalities. Currently, the experts are studying why deaths are comparatively lower in the Asia Pacific region
The Malacanang disputed the claim of the labor group, Migrante International, that President Duterte’s administration neglected the repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers. On the contrary, the government gave special treatment to them, ensuring their overall safety in this COVID-19 crisis. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque affirmed that they are attending to the needs of the Filipino workers shouldering the cost of their transportation and COVID-19 test.
Roque announced today the updated list of areas, which will shift to general community quarantine on June 1, 2020, until June 15, 2020. The list includes Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Region 3 (Central Luzon), Pangasinan, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), National Capital Region (NCR), including Pateros, Zamboanga City, Region 7 (Central Visayas), Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Davao City. Other areas that the authorities did not mention could return under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Within MGCQ, they will ease quarantine protocols.
I appreciate the efforts of the Philippine government in taking care of the OFWs in the country. The programs of repatriation and the return of distressed OFWs in Manila show how the authorities prioritized them. As an OFW advocate, I believe that these OFWs that the authorities helped can return the favor in restoring the country’s economy as this pandemic ends.
“Sumampalataya kayo sa ilaw habang kasama pa ninyo ang ilaw, upang kayo’y maging mga anak ng liwanag.”Juan 12: 36
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