CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #20 – A Joyful Celebration in Every Breakthrough Against COVID-19

Last Updated on 1 year by DIARYNIGRACIA

August 03, 2020

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

In every crisis we face, our nature is to make our stand and survive this great ordeal. In our graduation restoration to normalcy, we have achieved significant steps in defeating the coronavirus pandemic. Together with our dedicated frontliners, we instill courage within our hearts and strengthen our hopes. As we celebrate the Eid Al-Adha holiday, we carry on our battle against the COVID-19 disease.

In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 388 new coronavirus cases with four further deaths and 526 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 68,299 cases with 461 fatalities and 59,739 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 282 are Kuwait citizens, while 106 are residents of various nationalities. In the governorates, there are 113 in Ahmadi, 86 in Farwaniya, 83 in Jahra, 63 in the Capital, and 43 in Hawally. On this day, there are 8,099 active cases.

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait on August 03, 2020

Looking at the chart, the rate of daily cases and recoveries decreased from August 30, 2020. However, the number of recoveries is higher than the daily rate. This is a good indication that the coronavirus transmission within the country is controlled. If these rates keep up, the active cases will be lowered. I continue my prayers to Almighty God for the lowering of active cases in the country.

Timeline of Cases from July 28, 2020 to August 03. 2020

 The chart below shows the update of active cases within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In the region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the highest with 35,837 active cases and is followed by Qatar with 17,317 active cases. Kuwait is the third one, with a total of 8,241 active cases. 

COVID-19 Update in GCC on August 02, 2020

Regular Sessions On Tuesday and Wednesday with Medical Examinations

The National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim will call for regular sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday last July 28, 2020. He urged the MPs for their cooperation with the secretariat general to finish their COVID-19 medical diagnostic test. It is a part of their preparation for the scheduled sessions.

 He spoke at the parliament headquarters that the MPs and staff who will be attending the sessions would undergo medical examinations. Last July 13, 2020, he announced the incidence where a meeting was delayed because several of the MPs showed positive results of the COVID-19 disease. To ensure our leaders’ safety, it is wise to conduct medical examinations if regular meetings are scheduled.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim

Reoperation of Flights to 20 Countries

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) affirmed to the public of the reoperation of the Kuwait International Airport. Scheduled on August 01, 2020, the commercial flights will reopen. It includes the airlines of the Bahrain, UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey, Switzerland, Nepal, Germany, Philippines, and India.

The DGCA Director of the Department of Air Transport Abdullah Al-Rajhi said that the flight schedules would be announced soon. Lastly, he urged all travelers to comply with the health procedures and guidelines implemented by the authorities.  

As a preparation for the resumption of flights, the Kuwait Airways conducted sanitization and disinfection within their premises.

Preparation of Kuwait Airways on Resumptionof Flights

Three Stage Plan for the Resumption of Commercial Flights

Last June 29, 2020, the Kuwait Cabinet authorized the three-stage plan for the resumption of commercial flights after a five-month suspension. The plan includes the significance of adhering to the precautionary health measures imposed by the health authorities. It will be applicable to protect the health and safety of travelers from the COVID-19 disease.

The first stage will begin on August 01, 2020, which will continue for six months. The authorities allow its operation with no more than 30 percent while limiting the passengers to 10,000 per day and the flights to 100 per day.

On February 01, 2021, the second stage will commence, which will last for another six months. Its operating rate should not exceed 60 percent while the authorities allow up to 20,000 passengers and 200 flights per day. The final phase will be implemented on August 01, 2020, with full operations. It is expected to cater to more than 30,000 passengers and a maximum of 300 flights per day.

Last July 21, 2020, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced the imposed health protocols for the operation of commercial flights. According to DGCA Director-General Yousef Al-Fawzan, the protocols include random inspection areas for arrivals with the issued procedures for arrival and departure flights.  The departing passengers must bring their travel requirements to their destined country.

Other instructions stated the necessity of booking tickets online or through a phone call. It will be received through e-mail to prevent the use of paper tickets, causing COVID-19 transmission. A travel health insurance must be provided by the citizens that can cover medical treatment of COVID-19 infection. For the arriving passengers, they are required to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.

Precautionary Measures for the Passengers

Two days before the reopening of the commercial flights in Kuwait, the Minister of Health Ministry and DGCA Chairman inspected the airport. I commend the cautious preparation of the Kuwait government in its reopening. Many of our Kababayans are relieved to know that commercial flights were reopened. It is because it will help their return to the Philippines. It will also allow our other kababayans to work here in Kuwait.

Inspection of Ministry of Health Minister and DGCA Chairman in the Airport

On July 30, 2020, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued Circular No (2020/85) about the operation of all airlines in the Kuwait International Airport. In the circular, the Council of Ministers decided to allow the passengers to travel to and from Kuwait. However, it exempted the arriving residents who were present for 14 days within these countries. It includes Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Iranian Islamic Republic, and the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Circular Number 2020/85 of DGCA

Suspension of Commercial Flights to 31 countries

On August 01, 2020, the Kuwait International Airport reopened its commercial flights. However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended commercial flights to 31 countries because of the coronavirus outbreak under the health authorities’ instructions. The 31 countries are Kosovo, Dominican Republic, Montenegro, Serbia, Peru, Panama, Moldova, North Macedonia, Italy, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Egypt, Pakistan, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Syria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Columbia, Iran, India, and China.

Circular Number 2020/87 of DGCA

Reopening of Commercial Flights

 On the first day of the resumption of commercial flights in the Kuwait International Airport, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) distributed sanitizers and face masks to the passengers. I expressed my most enormous gratitude to all the good works and humanitarian aid to KRCS in ensuring the safety and welfare of the community. 

KRCS Distribution of Facemasks and Sanitizers in Airport

Reduction of Private Schools’ Fees by 25 Percent

Even with the ongoing health crisis, the pursuit of education continues. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education Dr. Saud Al-Harbi announced the reduction of academic fees by 25 percent for the private schools for the school year 2020-2021. Therefore, he called on the private institutions to conduct online learning as the new academic year begins. Online learning will continue until students can return safely to school without the threat of the COVID-19 disease.

 Minister Al-Harbi assigned the undersecretary for private education regarding the issuing of rules and regulations, the monitoring of the implemented online learning, and any possible violation of the fee reduction within the schools. All this is under Article 10 of 2018. 

 Reducing the school fees is a great help for many parents who are still adjusting after experiencing financial loss during the lockdown. Instead of paying all their money for the school fees, a portion of it will be spent for their daily essentials.  

Launching of Blood Donation Campaign by Kuwait Health Ministry

 The Health Ministry of Kuwait launched on July 29, 2020 the blood donation campaign entitled “Together Forever.” Represented by the Central Blood Bank, the Health Minister Dr. Basel Al-Sabah sponsored the event. According to the Blood Bank Director Reem Al-Radwan, the campaign will commence from August 2, 2020, to August 3, 2020, at 10:00 am of local time in Al-Adan and Al-Jabriya centers.

In the previous years, their conducted campaigns became successful as they collected 468 blood bags in 2019 and 396 blood bags in 2018. Director Al-Radwan expressed her hope that the collected bags will increase as she invited residents and citizens to participate in this program. It will signify as their renewal of love for Kuwait.

The current campaign will be different because of the problematic health conditions brought by the coronavirus disease. For the upcoming reservations of appointments for blood donations, all precautionary health measures will be taken.

Alterations in Shopping Mall’s Opening Hours

 As Kuwait transitioned its phase from the second to the third, the shopping mall’s opening hours were altered. The Director-General of Kuwait Municipality Ahmad Al-Manfouhi announced the new opening hours. For the malls, it will be open from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm while paralleled, and retail food markets are available from 6:00 am until 8:00 am. The following changes are under the decision of the Council of Ministers issued last July 30, 2020. 

 For the markets with scheduled appointment system by the Ministry of Commerce, it will open its doors for the customers with appointments. However, it is allowed only during working hours. For the hotels, beauty salons, gyms, seating lobbies, and resorts including swimming pools, all will remain closed. Lastly, he called on the operating stores and selling establishments to comply with the imposed health requirements by the Ministry of Health to avoid legal charges. 

E-commerce Plan for the SMEs During the Pandemic

 The coronavirus pandemic pummelled many traditional retailers. As a solution, the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) shifted to e-commerce platforms in handling logistics and other needed services. In conjunction with the regional logistics “Agility,” the e-payment gateway system was officially launched at www.bee3kw.com.

According to Kuwait’s National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, it will serve as a go-to resource for SMEs who looked for advice on workflow and financing. It will help the SMEs to cope up with the immediate changes and volatility of the global market. The Funds Director-General Manaf Al-Menaifi pointed out that the e-commerce world is a foreign place for many starting firms.

To support them, training courses are provided to help them with the challenges of e-commerce with confidence. He described the young entrepreneurs as the pulse of the national economy. The ongoing pandemic forced many SMEs to resort to e-commerce platforms, according to Agility Chief Hanadi Al-Saleh. He said that it would significantly help them in boosting their sales. 

Celebration of Eid Al-Adha in Kuwait

On July 31, 2020, our Muslim brothers performed Eid Al-Adha prayers on Friday while applying stringent coronavirus guidelines. These prayers are every year that marks a joyous occasion of festivities. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 threat, the Muslims within Kuwait flocked to mosques for their prayers. However, the mosques are fully equipped and prepared with health and safety standards.

In the photos, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs approved and sanctioned these prayers halls for this specific event. During the religious ceremony, social distancing rules, wearing of face masks and sanitization has been applied to ensure their safety.

Muslim Worshippers attending Eid Al-Adha Prayers
The Situation during Eid Al-Adha Prayers on June 31, 2020
The Situation During Eid Prayer

 I admired our Muslim brothers and sisters’ compliance with the health measures as they perform their Eid prayers. Social distancing and wearing of facemasks were followed during the ceremony. I would like to greet everyone as we celebrate the Eid Al-Adha holiday. 

Meat Distribution in Eid Al-Adha by Kuwait Red Crescent Society

 Within the day, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society successfully distributed meat to needy families in the country. The KRCS Secretary General Maha Al-Barjas emphasized the importance of its projects to different families’ humanitarian needs. She said that about 3,000 kilograms of meat is distributed to the deprived families for four days. It will provide food assistance to the widows and orphans as well as those with special needs. 

She ensured the public that KRCS availed the Eid meat with legal and health conditions for its delivery in the initial day of Eid Al-Adha. The KRCS conducts this meat project locally and internationally every year as it contributes to the offering for the joy of the feast.

Distribution Eid Meat By KRCS

Child Rights in Kuwait During the Pandemic

 During this COVID-19 pandemic, the office of human rights in Kuwait emphasized on August 02, 2020 the significance of the child rights approach as a response to the health crisis. The children’s academic future was disrupted due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus. Therefore, they will experience devastating effects. It greatly affected their social lives. 

 On the bright side, an ad hoc committee tasked for child rights is formed. It will ensure Kuwait’s children that their free and compulsory education is not deprived in these difficult times. The committee will also look into child health care, which will provide attention to the children growing in dysfunctional families with high risks of emotional negligence.

 The implemented measures are for child protection from the violence, which includes domestic trouble and school skirmishes. A hotline is also set up for the reporting of any abuse to become more manageable. With the local media, they set a campaign to raise awareness on this matter across the country, ensuring the preservation of children’s rights.

Informatics Awards’ Emphasis on Pandemic Awareness

 In the 20th year, the eighth edition of Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Award for Informatics stresses on the current global pandemic and raising of awareness in maintaining mental health and strengthening the immune system. The title of the competition is “Your Health.” It reflects the convictions that prevention is better than cure, according to the Head of the Organizing Committee Bassam Al-Shemmeri. It touches with the emerging conditions of the country and other affected nations. 

 He added the importance of digital platforms and smart technologies as a means of raising health awareness during this health emergency. Explaining further, the prize is an interactive educational awareness competition. Its previous editions attained great interactive success internationally. 

 It will remain open for those who want to participate in Kuwait, the Arab region, and other places across the world. The application will be available for 20 days starting from August 01, 2020. The competition has ten multiple-choice questions available in Arabic or English. If answered correctly, the applicant receives an entry into a draw, according to the Event’s Director, Dr. Abdullah Al-Ali. 

Within the winning applicants, 30 of them will enter a draw for USD 30,000. Each of them will receive USD 1,000 and a certificate from the prize committee during the award ceremony.

Closure of 46 Shops by Kuwait Municipality

 The Municipality of Kuwait announced the closure of 46 shops during the Eid Al-Adha for violating the precautionary health guidelines imposed by the government. Out of 1,197 inspection visits, it handed out warnings to 1,142 shops. The inspections aim to ward off street vendors, livestock outlets, unlicensed butchers, and violators of coronavirus measures. 

 As a result, it released 206 fines for selling establishments breaching the measures, which include wearing face masks and safety gloves as prevention of COVID-19 disease. The Kuwait Municipality discovered 73 illegal livestock merchants and released 42 fines to illegal street vendors. Seven unlicensed butchers are also apprehended. 

 The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) Team carried on their inspection campaign within the selling establishments. It is to ensure their compliance with the anti-coronavirus measures issued by the Kuwait government. 

Inspection Campaign of MOCI Team

On the other hand, the Kuwait Municipality closed down two shisha cafes for violating the COVID-19 regulations. These cafes are located in Hawally. The Kuwait Municipality and MOCI have been consistent in monitoring the selling establishments around the country. With this, all of us are ensured that we are safe when we shop for our needs.

Shutting Down of Two Shisha Cafes

Joy to the Needy Families in Meat Supply Distribution

On August 03, 2020, about 1,230 impoverished families received the meat distribution as part of the Islamic tradition on the Eid Holiday. It was distributed within the local community, according to Kuwait’s food bank. The Bank’s vice chairman, Mishal Al-Ansari, affirmed that those families affected by the coronavirus pandemic were overjoyed after receiving such gracious aid. In these trying times, he said that these altruistic deeds become more meaningful.

Urging the Citizens For Travel Insurance

 The Kuwait government held a virtual meeting led by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. According to the Interior Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh, it advised the traveling citizens to acquire health insurance to cover up all the medical treatment costs for possible COVID-19 infection or accidents. 

For the returning citizens and expatriates, they should provide a PCR test conducted 72 hours before their arrival. Then, they are required to spend home quarantine for 14 days.

 The authorities noted the regulation issued by the Civil Aviation Directorate (DGCA) for the arriving non-Kuwait passengers from the 31 countries who were prohibited from entering the country. However, they can only enter the State once they met specific criteria. 

 The criteria include staying in third countries for at least 14 days. After that, they must undergo PCR tests for coronavirus 72 before their departure time. They are required to have an approval certificate for their negative result. Like other passengers, they will undertake home quarantine for 14 days. 

=Today marks the 7th day of the government’s implemented the third phase to normalcy. The Kuwait government successfully resumed commercial flights with caution. Even with the ongoing health crisis, everyone greeted each other with smiles on their faces, an Eid Al-Adha holiday. However, precautionary health measures were not forgotten in the ceremony of prayers. Therefore, I express my most significant appreciation to every citizen and resident who adhered to all the imposed regulations for the safety of all. It is only through unity that we can make a stand against this pandemic.

Celebrating the National Disaster Resilience Month

 The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait united with the Philippine nation in observing the National Disaster Resilience Month in July. Its central theme is “Sama-Samang Pagsulong Sa Katatagan Sa Gitna Ng Bagong Normal.” The vision of the current Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework calls for an adaptive, safer, and disaster-resilient Filipino communities. Therefore, a proactive approach is taken to increase our Kababayans’ resilience and decrease vulnerabilities in facing any natural or human-made disasters.

 Commemorating the National Disaster Resilience Month has a significant impact as we continue our battle against the coronavirus pandemic that affected the livelihood of many Filipinos. 

National Disaster Resilience Month by Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

Updates of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

 On the celebration of the Eid Al-Adha, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait greeted our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters worldwide. May they be blessed and physically distanced during this commemoration. 

Greetings from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

Aside from the Eid Al-Adha holiday celebration, we must celebrate the successful repatriation of 315 of our fellow Filipinos. They arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on August 01, 2020. It is a chartered flight by Kuwait Airways. 

According to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, about eight chartered Kuwait-to-Manila flights were made possible since June 28, 2020. The Embassy and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assisted the approval for the clearance of the chartered flight.

Return of 315 Filipinos on Eid Al-Adha Holiday

Furthermore, the Embassy released the official list of those individuals with an appointment on August 04 until August 08, 2020, for application and renewal of passport. For those listed on their online survey established last June 22-24, 2020, all of them will have their appointment schedules. Hence, for the individuals not listed below, they are advised to wait for more updates posted by the Embassy’s official Facebook page.  To access the full list, click here.

List of Applicants with Appointment for August 04-08, 2020
Infographic of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

Updates of Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait released an advisory for the Eid Al-Adha holiday. Under the directions of Kuwait and the Philippine Embassy, the office of POLO Kuwait will be closed from July 31 until August 03, 2020. Therefore, the distribution of financial assistance from the DOLE AKAP program will continue on August 04, 2020.

Advisory of Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait

“Ang Panginoon ay mabuti; matibay siyang kanlungan sa oras ng kagipitan, at inaalagaan niya ang nananalig sa kanya.”



The Primary Purpose of my COVID-19 Diaries


CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #19 – The Changeover to Third Phase While Safeguarding The Community’s Welfare

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