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CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #66 – The Gradual Closing of Cooperatives

May 16, 2020, Saturday

“Take time to appreciate employees, and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.”

Bob Nelson

The spread of the COVID-19 disease continues to pose a big threat around the world. As the country’s governments continue to fight this pandemic, the hope for a better tomorrow still exists. In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health has reported 942 new COVID-19 cases with 11 deaths and 203 recoveries in this Saturday for May 16, 2020. It brings to a total of 13,802 cases with 107 deaths and 3,843 recovered cases.

Within the new cases, 208 are Kuwait citizens, 251 are Indians, 152 are Egyptians, and 123 are Bangladeshis. In the governorates, there are 331 cases in Farwaniya, 239 in Ahmadi, 155 in Hawally, 129 in Jahra, and 88 in Capital. Among the residential areas, Farwaniya ranks the highest with a total of 112 cases. There are currently 9,852 active cases in the country. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of COVID-19 cases has increased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait May 16, 2020

Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a new online platform where the citizens can submit an application for evacuation of their first-degree relatives from outside of the country. The first-degree-relatives include their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, and father. The application for the evacuation of their relatives must be submitted through https://mofa.paci.gov.kw/client.

Website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Health has said today that the pharmacies in the country must sell the masks to the community with the price approved by the state. The price must not exceed 150 fils per piece. The Undersecretary at the Ministry Dr. Abdullah Al-Bader has confirmed that the decision is in line with the health guidelines to encourage the people to wear face masks in public. He has reassured the public that the concerned authorities will continue to monitor the sale of masks. In this way, it will be identified if the pharmacies are abiding with the price regulation protocols or not.

 Monitoring the price regulation of the essential items, such as face masks, is a smart decision by the Kuwait government. It can greatly help the citizens in following the use of face masks in public. It will contribute a lot to the country’s fight against COVID-19. 

In Mahboula, a large crowd has been gathering for Iftar. During Ramadan, Iftar is one of the religious observances in which it is done as a community. Amidst this pandemic crisis, these large gatherings can be dangerous as it contributes to the further spread of the virus. I am deeply worried about the people who participated in this gathering for they are at high risk of contracting the virus.

Iftar in Mahboula

Furthermore, it is reported that the Ministry of Interior replaced the security at some locations in Mahboula and Jleeb with security patrols in the regions. Security forces are also deployed at supermarkets and cooperative societies to inspect any random entries in the area. It is an excellent move to strengthen the security forces in the supermarkets and cooperative societies since there is a high risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease. Following the proper guidelines and precautionary measures against the disease must be strictly practiced. 

As the number of cases rises, the cooperative establishments in the country are gradually closing down. The Hateen Cooperative has officially closed down after 9 of its workers have tested positive. The same situation has happened in Sabah Al-Salem cooperative when 38 of their employees are infected. The gradual closing of these cooperatives shows that workers face great risks every day in contracting the virus. For this, proper protective measures must be exercised by the employees to protect their health.

Hateen Cooperative in Kuwait

Furthermore, it is sad to know that one of the employees in the Khaldiya Cooperative has died due to the COVID-19 disease. I can consider the cooperatives’ employees as frontliners, for they face the same risks as healthcare workers. As they continue to ensure the regulation and availability of the essential commodities for the population, they are slowly infected by the virus one by one. Even with these risks, they still serve the community for their daily supply.

Faisal Al-Shuway from Khaldiya Cooperative

On the other hand, another bread distribution has been conducted in Jleeb. The video shows the citizens in the community bringing plastic bags with bread inside. It is a great help for the daily consumption of these citizens. Especially with the ongoing “No Work, No Pay” situation, the community is assisted by the authorities.

Bread Distribution in Jleeb

Another video shows the real situation during the 2-hour walking period in Farwaniya from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Many people are roaming on the streets. Not all people in the area are practicing the precautionary measures mandated by the government.

Public Streets in Farwaniya

I am disappointed about these citizens who fail to comply with the guidelines of the government. If these situations continue, Farwaniya will still have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in residential areas. The government of Kuwait has spent millions of financial resources to serve the community with the best of medical care. These people should be deported immediately for not following the guidelines. They will add to the burdens of the frontliners who are battling this pandemic crisis.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has released a public advisory for all passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The Embassy has informed the public that all passengers arriving at NAIA in Manila are required to submit their respective accomplished COVID-19 Case Investigation Form. These requirements are a part of the stringent measures against the pandemic by the Philippine government.

Overseas Filipino Workers and foreigners with flights for Manila are requested to print and fill out the Case Investigation Form in advance. The form can be downloaded in this link. https://bit.ly/COVID19CaseForm

 Furthermore, the Embassy reminds the Filipinos in Kuwait about its previous advisory in booking their flights bound to Philippines. They must bring their valid passport and a copy of their air ticket for those who have confirmed flights during the curfew. In this way, they can present it to the security in case they are checked along the way. A driver-companion is only allowed to accompany the passenger to the airport. The driver must also bring a copy of the passenger’s air ticket. Lastly, the Embassy has informed the public that commercial flights from the Philippines to Kuwait are still suspended.

Public Advisory of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

With these guidelines, the flight passenger going to the Philippines will be accommodated smoothly. Because of the ongoing crisis, these safety measures are implemented. One must follow these rules to avoid any inconvenience.

 In the Philippines, the Department of Health has announced 214 new COVID-19 cases with 11 deaths and 101 recoveries. It brings to a total of 12,305 cases, with 817 confirmed deaths and 2,561 recovered cases. Currently, the country has 8,927 active cases. Compared to yesterday, the number of cases has decreased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in Philippines at May 16, 2020

The Philippine Red Cross has announced this Saturday that they have a 3rd facility which is now capable of running up to 12,000 tests per day. It is because the Department of Health has officially credited its bio-molecular laboratory in Port Area, Manila, to conduct COVID-19 tests. The facility is equipped with four PCR machines that can process 4,000 tests per day. In the next few weeks, the Philippine Red Cross is set to open four more testing centers located in Clark, Subic, Los Banos, and Batangas. Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, Sen. Richard Gordon, said that there is a need to do more tests to prevent the further spread of the disease. He emphasized that they have to test, test, and test to unmask the invisible enemy, which is the virus itself. 

            Strict lockdown is still implemented in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue while Metro Manila, Laguna, and six areas in Central Luzon have shifted under modified, enhanced community quarantine. For the rest of the provinces in the country, they are under general community quarantine. It will allow almost all industries in the country to operate up to 75 percent. In this way, the revival of the Philippines’ economy has started.

            Today is the 54th day of the curfew, 22nd day of the Ramadan, and the 6th day of the total lockdown. Kuwait has a total of 13,804 COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 12,305 cases. The country of Kuwait still has a higher number of cases than the Philippines. Both countries have done their best to contain the spread of the virus. As this crisis continues, I hope that someday this plight of ours will end.

“Mapapalad ang mga mahabagin: sapagka’t sila’y kahahabagan. Sapagka’t ako’y  magiging mahabagin sa kanilang kalikuan. At ang kanilang mga kasalanan ay hindi ko na aalalahanin pa.”

Mateo 5:7


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Peace and love to you.

Gracia Amor
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