March 26, 2020, Thursday
“The future of our nation depends on our ability to produce food and fiber to sustain the world.”Phil Bredesen
During these crises, it is natural for many people to secure their stock of food and basic commodities immediately. With this, it can be a great challenge for the government to maintain the availability of food stock and necessities for the whole population. In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health has reported 13 new COVID-19 cases with six additional recoveries. It brings to a total of 208 cases with 49 recovered cases. Within the latest cases, 2 are Kuwait citizens with travel history to Saudi Arabia, 2 Kuwait citizens with travel history to Egypt, 1 Kuwait citizen with travel history to France, and 1 Kuwait citizen who is under investigation.
Moreover, 2 Kuwait citizens had contact with a case traveling to Saudi Arabia, 2 Kuwait citizen and resident had contact with a case traveling to Azerbaijan, 1 Kuwait national had contact with a case going to the United Kingdom, 1 Egyptian resident had contact with confirmed Filipino resident, and 1 Somalian resident had contact with another confirmed Somalian resident. Currently, there are 159 active cases in the country. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
The Kuwait Cabinet has officially asked the Kuwait Supply Company to respond to all food needs in the country. The Kuwait Supply Company will be providing the local market with all the available food staples selected by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Cabinet has also given directions to provided one month’s salary to all overseas students, whether they have state scholarships or not. They intend it to ease the difficult situation of Kuwait students abroad. They suspend taxi services throughout the country during this period. These decisions are given by the Government Spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrem at the Sief Palace during a press conference.
Conducting these press conferences has posed a great risk in contracting the virus during these meetings. The Cabinet has finally decided to halt the attendance for all press conferences and briefings. However, they decided to use the video-conferencing system according to the prescribed health guidelines, such as social distancing.
I commend the Kuwait Government for always reassuring the public of the availability of the basic commodities and foodstuffs. After instructing the Kuwait Supply Company in ensuring the continuous supply of food for the community, I hope that the citizens are relieved from the worries of food shortage and possible famine during the implementation of curfew. The authorities also looked after the overseas Kuwait students abroad. It is a good thing that they decided to ease the burden of the students through financial assistance during this time of the pandemic.
Furthermore, the authorities of Kuwait reported the arrest of 15 people who violated the partial curfew. Out of the 15 people, 8 of them are Kuwait citizens. The Ministry of Interior said that the violators would take legal penalty measures. I commend the country’s security forces for keeping a 24-hour lookout to all the violators in the community. The authorities should not overlook these violations since they can significantly affect the country’s partial curfew effectiveness.
According to the post by Philippine Overseas Labor and Office (POLO), Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III expressed his gratitude to the Government of Kuwait for facilitating the repatriation of 253 distressed Overseas Filipino workers who arrived in Manila this early morning. On behalf of the Philippine Government, he shares the gratefulness of President Duterte for sending home our kababayans without any expense from the Philippine government. Out of the 253 expatriates, 179 were under the care of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office shelter in Kuwait. He further affirmed that this is a heartening act considering that the Philippine authorities are assisting the Filipino citizens due to this unexpected public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 disease.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported 71 new COVID-19 cases with seven additional deaths and two recoveries. It brings to a total of 707 cases with 45 deaths and 28 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III affirmed during a press briefing that the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases within recent days is because the authorities increased the country’s testing capacity.
Today, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go urged the Department of Health to hasten the issuance of hospitals and designated testing centers outside Luzon. Its purpose is to detect immediately COVID-19 cases to the population in other respective regions. With the enactment of the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” the Department of Health will be able to mobilize the country’s resources and workforce.
The Philippine authorities announced the arrival of 253 Filipino citizens that came from Kuwait as part of a humanitarian flight arranged by the coordination of Kuwait Government and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. The repatriates arrived at 3:00 am at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, composed of 179 distressed domestic workers, 39 former detainees at Sulaibiya Central Jail, Talha Deportation Center, and others detention facilities, 34 Filipino who experienced problems in their employment and a single infant.
During their arrival, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, Department of Transportation, Department of Health, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Manila International Airport Authority, and Bureau of Immigration welcomed the Filipino repatriates. The authorities immediately transferred them to the designated areas for appropriate medical protocols and check-ups by the requirements of the Department of Health Bureau of Quarantine. After that, the authorities provided them with transportation to their destinations in Metro Manila and other provinces of Luzon. The government provided them with temporary shelter for their home quarantine for those who still cannot return to the other provinces.
Furthermore, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provided financial and transportation assistance to more than 200 distressed Overseas Filipino Workers through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III affirmed that they accommodated the OFWs at OWWA’s Half Way Home and helped them to return to their respective provinces.
Today marks the 15th day of the quarantine and 5th day of the curfew. Kuwait has a total of 208 COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 707 cases. Both countries cooperate for the welfare and safety of their citizens. It is a symbol of a good relationship between these countries. In this pandemic crisis, it is always better to lend a helping hand to each other. Through this, everyone can unite as one.
“Kaya sinasabi ko sa inyo, huwag kayong mag-alala tungkol sa inyong buhay – kung ano ang inyong kakainin, iinumin o susuotin. Dahil kung binigyan kayo ng Dios ng buhay, siguradong bibigyan din niya kayo ng pagkain at isusuot.”Mateo 6:25
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