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June 10, 2020

“Faith and doubt both are needed not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.”

Lilian Smith

The COVID-19 health crisis affected and suspended many activities, especially religious gatherings. Despite this problem, our faith remains strong as we face the coronavirus pandemic. However, we can gradually resume our religious meetings as we embark on our return to normalcy.

 In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health confirmed 683 new COVID-19 cases with two additional deaths and 1,126 recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 33,823 cases with 275 fatalities and 23,288 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 274 are Kuwait citizens, 130 are Indian residents, 58 are Bangladeshi residents, and 51 are Egyptian residents. In the governorates, there are 257 cases in Al Farwaniya, 160 in Al Ahmadi, 111 in Al Jahra, 103 in Hawally, and 52 in the Capital Area. Among the residential areas, Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh is the highest with a number of 99 cases. Currently, 10,260 infected patients are receiving medical treatment as it decreased from 10,260 cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases

The COVID-19 Situation in Kuwait

I am glad to know that the number of active cases in the country is decreasing. In the meantime, the Hawally Governor Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf inspected the security checkpoints in the Hawally Area. Hawally is one of the areas under the isolation protocol. It is a good thing that the Hawally Governor visited these sites to ensure the situations and effectiveness of the checkpoints.

Inspection in the Checkpoints of Hawally Area

Nine workers and volunteers of the Qortuba Cooperative Society tested positive. It is sad to know that another set of employees become victims of the coronavirus disease. In Khaitan, the authorities conducted another bread distribution for the citizens and residents in the country. I will always give my thanks to the government for their unceasing provision of bread and water to the people. In this, we can see the concern of the government for us during this critical situation.

Bread Distribution in Khaitan

Inbound Flights in Late August

 As the country anticipates its return to normalcy through the five-phase plan, the authorities will likely allow the expatriates to return in the last weeks of August. In this time, the fifth stage of the plan will be completed.

 At the Gulf level, the ministerial meeting for the determination of the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic is conducted. Among their list is the plan to create a unified mechanism in the Gulf as the five-phase plan started its beginning.

 Because the commercial operation of the air traffic gradually returns, Kuwait will place a mechanism to deal and examine the expatriates who will return to the Gulf countries. It will be based on the broad outlines of the Gulf mechanism to evaluate the developments of coronavirus and to establish control in ensuring the safety of public health.

Moreover, Airport Passport Director Colonel Badr Al-Shaya affirmed that instructions would be given to facilitate the procedures to help the expatriates who want to return to their home country. It will include those expatriates who have valid residency but was not able to obtain their Civil I.D. due to the closure of the government ministries.

Reopening of the Mosques

After three long months of closure, the mosques finally reopened for the public. However, the authorities continue to maintain and sterilize these buildings to prevent any transmission of COVID-19 disease. The video shows the authorities spraying disinfectants in every corner of the mosques.

Kuwait Authorities Sterilizing the Mosques

 In the reopening of the mosques, the people started to perform their prayers again. The coronavirus outbreak resulted in the suspension of the place for three months. For this time, many visitors filled the mosques. It includes the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in the Al-Siddiq area. During the prayers, they remain keen on complying with the health measures prepared by the Kuwait government to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Reopening of Mosques
Prayers Conducted in the Mosques
Implemented Measures in the Mosques

Today marks the 78th day of the curfew and the 11th day of the government’s first-phase plan. I commend the Kuwait government’s continuous efforts along with its constituents in gradually returning the country to its normalcy. The reopening of the mosques is an indication that the nation is easing its restrictions. However, the precautionary health measures are still imposed to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus. For that, I hope that its transmission will be stopped anytime soon.

New Protocols for Returning OFWs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) registered 29 new COVID-19 cases if Overseas Filipinos abroad with two additional deaths and 51 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 5,430 cases with 382 fatalities and 2,346 recovered cases. Currently, 2,702 Overseas Filipinos are undergoing treatment in which 108 cases are in Asia Pacific Region, 1862 are in the Middle East/Africa, 467 are in Europe, and 265 are in the Americas.

For the returning Overseas Filipino Workers, The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) implemented a new protocol in processing them. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III affirmed that they would require the returning OFWs to submit pertinent information to the agency. It must be done before they leave their host countries.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) decided to implement these new protocols. The imposed protocol means that the returning OFWs should notify the authorities five days before their departure. They need to gather information on the returning OFWs, such as their names, skills, and final destination. Then, they will send all these details to the Local Government Units (LGUs) of their respective provinces. 

 Upon the arrival of the OFWs, the health authorities will immediately conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on them. Within one to two days, they can receive their results. If negative, they can proceed to their respective provinces since the LGUs are already knowledgeable about their destinations. In this way, the LGUs can also prepare for their arrival. In June, Labor Secretary Bello expects the arrival of 16,000 OFWs in the country.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, multiple reports of complaints about the late response and non-admittance to the hospital came up. However, the Philippine Ambassador in Riyadh Adnan Alonto affirmed that no discrimination is happening against the OFWs with suspected infection of coronavirus disease. The government of Saudi Arabia made this reassurance. 

He further said that one of the reasons why these complaints surfaced is because of the large number of COVID-19 cases. The host country did not expect that their COVID-19 cases will reach beyond 100,000 cases.

 Despite the reports, the Health Ministry official of the country said that suspected Filipino COVID-19 patients are receiving proper medical treatment. Philippine Ambassador explained that the country has a triage where bringing the patient to the hospital depends on the condition if he or she is sent to a quarantine facility first.

  As of now, the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia is working for the repatriation of over 3,000 Filipinos back to the Philippines. The Embassy will gradually send them home based on a first-come-first-served basis.

 I will express my gratitude to the Philippine government for improving the process for the returning OFWs. It is not implemented to cause more burden for the OFWs but to make their return to their respective provinces easier. In this way, the government can hasten their return without further delay. 

“Napakahalaga ng pag-ibig nʼyong walang hanggan, O Dios! Nakakahanap ang tao ng pagkalinga sa inyo, tulad ng pagkalinga ng inahing manok sa kanyang mga inakay sa ilalim ng kanyang pakpak.”

Salmo‬ ‭36:7‬ ‭ASND‬‬‬‬‬‬


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CORONAVIRUS: KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #89 – Providing Employment to the Repatriated OFWs

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Gracia Amor
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