CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #16 – Establishing a Stable Food Supply

March 27, 2020, Friday

“There is enough on this planet for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi

As many countries undergo the implementation of lockdown, the COVID-19 restricted the people’s movements. Then, the worries of food shortage and famine among the community rise. However, each government has its plans to ensure that their constituents and fellow citizens are well fed.

 In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health has announced 17 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional recoveries.  It brings to a total tally of 225 cases with 57 recovered cases. Within the new cases, five of them are related to travel in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and France, nine cases were in contact with confirmed cases, and three were under investigation. Currently, there are 168 active cases in the country. Compared to yesterday, the new number of COVID-19 cases has increased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait at March 27, 2020

The Council of Ministers has held a meeting at the Seif Palace afternoon. His Highness Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabb heads the meeting.  The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the coordination of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Minister of State for Economic Affairs to develop a specific implementation mechanism for the distribution system for the residents and citizens. It ensures the proper distribution of the natural reserves for the consumers while ensuring the sustainability of the food stock. They must present the plans to the Ministerial Committee for proper implementation. 

 He also assigned the Kuwaiti Supply Company to shelter a shortage of basic commodities determined by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Furthermore, all Kuwaiti students abroad will receive a month’s salary from the government. Whether they are scholars from government missions or studying at their expenses, they will be receiving the money. Lastly, the authorities are stopping the press conferences, conducted with personal attendance. They will use technological communication for these conferences. 

The authorities reported that Kuwaiti repatriates from the country of London have successfully arrived today, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Since last Wednesday, Kuwait’s International Airport has been receiving Kuwait citizens from other countries as a part of the established repatriation plan during this global pandemic. A flight coming from Spain carrying Kuwaiti repatriates also arrived today. It will last until the next Sunday by the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and Kuwait’s health authorities.

Evacuation Flight from Barcelona

 Furthermore, the Kuwait Ministry of Social Affairs has approved the launching of the campaign in raising donations for the country’s fight against the COVID-19 virus. In the campaign, 41 Kuwaiti charities have participated. The Ministry Undersecretary Abdulaziz Shuaib said that it would be launched through the main website where the donations will be collected. Lastly, the allotted funds’ disbursement will be according to the standard criteria with the ministry’s approval.

The Ministry of Interior reported the arrest of a drunk man who violated the implementation of curfew. The authorities remain stringent to the implementation of quarantine and curfew. I appreciate the efforts of security officials in detaining them for these incidents can contribute to the further spread of the virus.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait officially released an advisory about the assistance of displaced Overseas Filipino Workers due to the COVID-19 crisis. It entails that Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III announced the endowment of financial assistance to OFWs with 10,000 pesos. However, the Department of Labor and Employment will still issue the criteria for selecting qualified OFW beneficiaries to the given financial assistance. The POLO in Kuwait still needs to receive the funds of the program for banks to remain closed due to the ongoing lockdown. Through this, the office will issue a further advisory for the guidelines in applying for the said program. 

Advisory of Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait

In Kuwait, the Philippine Embassy published another public advisory concerning the media reports of the visa violators. The advisory entails that the Embassy is aware of the Kuwait Ministry of Interior’s decision in canceling the fines for illegal residents or overstaying expatriates, considering that they leave the country within April. However, it does not include those individuals with existing travel bans. Moreover, the Embassy informed the Filipino community to wait for the Interior Ministry’s official communication of the decision. Meanwhile, the authorities still suspended the commercial flights to and from the Kuwait International Airport.

Advisory of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

Today marks the 16th day of the quarantine and 6th day of the curfew. I commend the systematic food distribution that the Kuwaiti authorities implemented. It will help ease the worries of the residents and citizens, which could lead them to panic buying. In this way, they can focus more on taking care of their health and compliance with the country’s guidelines.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 96 new COVID-19 cases with nine additional deaths and three recoveries. It brings to a total record of 803 cases with 54 fatalities and 31 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines on March 27, 2020

To properly identify people infected with COVID-19 disease, the Philippine government, I set a goal to meet the standard processing time of releasing the results of COVID-19 tests within 24 to 48 hours. The Department of Health Maria Rosario Vergeire admitted that it takes five to seven days to release results by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) because of the “backlog” of testing. However, Vergeire committed to addressing the problem within two to three days. According to her, if the backlog is fixed, then we can have real-time results, which the health authorities will release within 24 to 48 hours only. 

The issue of the backlog within the COVID-19 testing calls for the improvement of the country’s testing capacity. Therefore, the authorities will be providing 5,000 test kits to the sub-national laboratories this Friday or Saturday. The laboratories committed to processing COVID-19 test results within 24 to 48 hours. 

Since President Rodrigo Duterte implemented enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, much fake news circulated online, including the claims that the military will take control of ECQ and that it will be extended. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles refuted such claims. He further said that the government is doing its best to resolve the spread of COVID-19 before April 12. They wanted to end this pandemic as early as possible. However, they appeal to the citizens for their cooperation with the imposed ECQ.

Barangay Public Safety Health Officers in Novaliches Quezon City

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reiterated the local government units (LGU) their vital roles in the implemented enhanced community quarantine. It is to ensure the community’s compliance with social distancing and prevention of mass gatherings. During the lockdown, the LGU must also function in providing stable food supply to their constituents. DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that it is the president’s order to ensure the supply of food to the community. If any officials would commit any abuse of power, he reassured that cases they will file cases against them. 

 It is a good thing that the health authorities discovered the issue of the backlog within the country’s COVID-19 tests. On the other hand, I appreciate the efforts of both governments in ensuring the community’s food supply. With this, I have faith that we can survive the lockdown without the problem of famine.

“Ngunit napakamaawain ng Dios at napakadakila ng pag-ibig niya sa atin, na kahit itinuring tayong patay dahil sa mga kasalanan natin, muli niya tayong binuhay kasama ni Cristo.”

Efeso 2:4-5

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Author

  • Gracia Amor, A Multi-Award winner blogger; Presidential Award; Mass Media Advocacy Award, Philippine Expat Blog Award, and Most Outstanding Balikbayan Award. An OFW and Investment Literacy Advocate. Her first book, the Global Filipino Bloggers OFW Edition, reviewed and launched at Philippine Embassy Kuwait. Became a certified Registered Financial Planner of the Philippines (RFP), with specialization in Stock Market. Currently, a position PH stock trader in PSE. Digital Marketing Specialist. A proud founder of Teachers Specialist Org in Kuwait TSOK, Filipino Bloggers in Kuwait FBK. A Poet and a Photo hobbyist in between.

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