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CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #70 – The Significance of Repatriation Programs

May 20, 2020, Wednesday

“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Due to the threat of the COVID-19 virus, all countries took action to stop the spread of this pandemic. During these times, each nation prioritizes its citizens abroad and bring them back home.  The government will ensure the safety and welfare of its citizens. In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health reported 804 new COVID-19 cases with three additional deaths and 204 recoveries. It brings to a total of 17,568 cases, with 124 deaths and 4,885 recovered cases.

Within the new cases, 261 are Indian residents, 170 are Kuwaiti citizens, 140 are Egyptian residents, and 67 are Bangladeshi residents. In the governorates, there are 339 cases in Farwaniya, 207 in Ahmadi, 126 in Hawally, 86 in Jahra, and 46 in the capital. There are currently 12,559 active cases in the country. Among the residential areas, Farwaniya ranks the highest with a number of 108 cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait May 20, 2020

Today marks the 26th day of the Ramadan. The Minister of Awqaf allows the mosques to use speakers for their Takbeer, Eid prayer at their respective homes. It is an excellent decision to use speakers for the citizens near the area to be able to participate in the prayers during this month of Ramadan. Because of the total lockdown, the authorities prohibit any religious gatherings. Through this way, our Muslim brothers can say their prayers without violating any law.

Mosques using speakers for Takbeer, Eid Prayer

Another 4,350 Kuwaiti citizens arrived in the country from Saudi Arabia via land route. The authorities continued the repatriation program for their citizens. It is to ensure the safety and welfare of the people as they get to return to their respective homes. 

 The successful repatriation includes the youngest Kuwaiti toddler named Aida Lafia Al-Mutairi, who entered the country as part of the evacuation program of the citizens abroad. Her father received the 3-month infant at the border point in Nuwaiseeb. They went to Al-Khairan Park, where they undergo a medical examination and COVID-19 tests together with the other repatriates. Aida was with her grandmother when the borders of Kuwait officially closed. The father of Aida, Lafi Al-Mutairi, said the repatriation became successful with the coordination of the Embassy of Kuwait in Saudi Arabia. He happily thanked the Director of Ports, the Red Crescent, and the security men who devotedly supervised the process of repatriation.

Arrival of Kuwait citizens from Saudi Arabia

I commend greatly the efforts of the government for the repatriation programs of its citizens. They even managed to return a 3-month-old infant to her family. It is a heart-touching story to know that they are together again as a family during this pandemic crisis. Everyone knows that it is hard not to be together as a family in these times of trial. With the efforts of the government, all of the repatriates can come back home.

The security forces of Kuwait conducted a field-testing in Salmiya. For this time, they used a technological device that the government officially launched yesterday. They used the smart helmet equipped with thermal sensors that can detect the body temperature of up to 200 people per minute.

Field Testing in Salmiya

These innovative technologies are very amazing and helpful to the frontliners. They do not need to approach closely to the citizens to check their body temperature. As long as the citizens are within their line of sight, then their job is complete. I will commend the efforts of the creative inventors in making their excellent ideas a reality.

The authorities conducted another food distribution in Mahboula. Many people are gathering forming a crowd. Within the crowd, the people are not practicing social distancing during the distribution. It is good that the authorities provided food packages for the community during the total lockdown. However, they must improve the distribution system to prevent such gatherings.

Food distribution in Mahboula
Food Distributions in Kuwait

The Embassy of Kuwait in Ukraine delivered food packages to the needy families in the cities of Ukraine during the fasting month of Ramadan. The Embassy said that they offered food supplies to the unfortunate families and students in the cities. The heart-warming deed is a part of a wider initiative by the Embassy of Kuwait in Ukraine and the General Secretariat of Awqaf. They aim to provide fast-breaking meals to unfortunate people.

Food Packages for Families in Ukraine

In these times, the people of Kuwait never fail to show compassion and generosity to other people. The authorities conducted many generous charities not only to their citizens but also to other nationalities. For that, I praise the leaders of the country for practicing mercy and compassion to their fellowmen.

 In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 279 new COVID-19 cases with five additional deaths and 89 recoveries. It brings to a total of 13,221 cases, with 842 deaths and 2,932 recovered cases. Currently, there are 9,447 active cases in the country. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increases.  

Update of COVID-19 cases in Philippines at May 20, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs announced today that there are 24 Filipinos infected with the COVID-19 disease abroad. It brings to a total of 2,455 Overseas Filipino Workers. Furthermore, the department confirmed nine new recoveries and four new deaths; two of them are from Europe, and the other two are from the Middle East and Africa.

The statement from the department said that the daily rate of recoveries decreased. However, the total number of Overseas Filipino Workers who recovered from the infection is 858 cases. It is currently three times more than the total deaths, which is at 284 cases. The overall recoveries reach 35 percent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases abroad. There are 1,313 Filipinos abroad that are still undergoing treatment. It includes 124 occurrences in the Asia-Pacific region, 434 cases in Europe, 55 cases in the Middle East/Africa, and 118 cases in the Americas.

For the Overseas Filipino Workers who are the 14-day quarantine but tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) urges them to register in a portal designed to organize their respective flight for their return to their provinces. One can access the online platform through this link. uwianna.owwa.gov.ph

This decision aims to fast track all the transportation arrangements for the Filipino workers. OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said, “It is a registration procedure for those with negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results and are in OWWA quarantine facilities for the faster arrangement of their transportation back to their homes.” In addition to that, it will help the department in grouping these Filipino workers based on their home destinations and in identifying the current hotel where they would stay. The main purpose of this online platform is to have a faster booking of charter flights and grouping them based on where they will be going. Through this, the whole process is quicker and easier than the traditional way of gathering information. Cacdac assures the Filipino workers that they are coordinating closely with the Philippine Red Cross for their test results.  

Today marks the 58th day of the curfew, 26th day of the Ramadan, and 10th day of the total lockdown. Kuwait has a total tally of 17,568 COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 13,221 cases. Innovative technologies are starting to give light during the dark times of the pandemic. With this, I am reassured that both countries will be able to use their innovations to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease.

“Ang isang tao’y maraming iniisip, maraming binabalak, ngunit ang kalooban din ni Yahweh ang siyang mananaig.”

Mga Kawikaan 19:21


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