As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we’re going to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.– Susan Elizabeth Phillips
April 5, 2020, Sunday
There has been a significant upward trend in the rise of COVID-19 infections all over Kuwait, and as such, the Government has taken a number of proactive measures in helping contain the transmission. The state has also increased its capabilities in fighting the pandemic.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 77 new COVID-19 cases with six additional recoveries. This brings to a total tally of 556 cases with 99 recovered cases. Within the new cases, one was related to travel, 74 had contact with confirmed cases, and two are under investigation. Four hundred fifty-six patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 17 are in the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Status Regarding Curfew
Today marks the 25th day of the quarantine and the 15th day of curfew, and the Ministry’s Undersecretary Dr. Mustafha Redha released a statement regarding the Ministry of Health’s dedication in formulating plans in preventing the local transmission of COVID-19 cases. The Kuwait Ministry of Health advised individuals who have been discharged from the hospital or have completed mandatory quarantine because they were no longer infected with the virus to quarantine themselves at home for another 14 days. He also advised public health services in every sector of the city to keep a file on everyone, leaving a mandatory quarantine to keep tabs on them and make sure that they abide with the directed home quarantine.
Due to the spike of Coronavirus cases with the Ministry of Health citing 57 direct infection cases and 70 more from those who contracted the virus from unknown sources, this has led to the Government taking more extensive health and security measures such as extending the partial curfew house and the probable isolation of some areas inhabited by expatriates especially in the more densely populated parts of the country.
The Kuwait MP Adel Al-Dhamkhi also stated on a press release that it is now necessary to call for a total and regional ban in labor-intensive areas to ensure the security of everyone’s lives and livelihood. This is due to the rising cases of Coronavirus, and he has since then called for a much bigger scale of medical examination and has stressed the importance of staying at home. He has also recommended the consultation of senior physicians in the Faculty of Medicine in visualizing and simulating future crisis scenarios and also providing them with solutions.
The Ministry of Interior has also assigned Special Forces, rescue, and traffic patrols on areas affected by the ban, namely of Farwaniya, Jleeb, and Mahboula. They will be conducted periodically in those areas so as to deter quarantine violators and also serve as personnel overseeing the implementation of the quarantine. Citizens in the areas mentioned above will only be permitted to leave their homes within specific hours and shall most likely be implemented tomorrow evening. The Ministry of Interior has already defined the assigned exit and entry points in the places affected by the ban so that travel will be permitted for only those who have permits.
The Ministry of Public works is also coordinating with figureheads of the education department in arranging educational facilities near public hospitals to serve as accommodations for healthcare workers during the pandemic. This was done in a bid to prevent further contamination in the community by minimizing the contact that doctors and other nursing staff have with citizens living in nearby residential areas. The Ministries of Health, Education, and Public Works are also looking for ways to prepare these facilities and ensure that they are capable and fully ready by the time medical staff arrives.
On the other hand, the Directorate-General of Public Relations and Security Media Department of the Interior Ministry released a statement that the Government is currently expanding its capabilities in accommodating residence violators with two new facilities being opened to those who wish to avail of the Amnesty Program and leave the country without paying any fines. One of the facilities will be Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and will cater expatriates from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Male and female violators will be separated, with the latter being currently received at the Rufaida Al-Islamiya Elementary School for Girls, Block 4 Street 200. The center for men has also been opened at the Naeem Bin Masoud Elementary School for Boys, Block 4 Street 250.
I am very pleased with the actions that the authorities have taken to ensure their citizens’ wellbeing. The Government is doing its best to stem the rate of local infections and is constantly updating and improving these health measures as well as making sure that they are being implemented.
Update on OFW Repatriation and Amnesty Program
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and the Kuwait Ministry of Interior released a statement reminding that this is the last day that the Kuwait Government will be receiving expatriates from the Filipino community who have invalid residency permits and wish to leave the country without paying fines. The locations for the reception of these applications are placed in the Jleeb Al-Shyyoukh with the Rufaida Al-Aslamiya Elementary School for women and the Naeem bin Masoud Elementary for men. The Director of Public Relations and Security Media in the Ministry of Interior, Brigadier Tawhid Al-Kandari, stated that the government’s prerogative to exempt residency violators from incurring fines is a golden opportunity for those who still wish to return to find job opportunities in Kuwait.
Although more than a thousand undocumented Filipino expatriates have already returned home thanks to the Amnesty Program of the Government, there are still hundreds of OFW’s in the country who cannot return to the Philippines due to a travel ba regarding the debts and loans they owed to various telecom companies, banks, lending agencies, and individuals. This feels like a dead-end for these unfortunate souls since some of them are jobless with nowhere to stay and with no food to eat. They have already appealed to the Philippine Embassy for help to which the Philippine Embassy Charge d’Affaires to Kuwait Charleson Hermosura confirmed that they had heard reports of undocumented OFW’s who are unable to avail of the Amnesty due to loan related travel bans. The Philippine Embassy and the Kuwait Government are currently working together to explore legal remedies, which may help our OFW’s with their loans. Hermosura also thanked the Government of Kuwait, particularly the Ministry of Interior and all its constituents, for their actions, which led to the Filipino communities benefitting from the amnesty program.
I commend the teamwork and collaboration that the Philippine Embassy and the Kuwait Government have shown, especially with helping our stranded OFW’s return home. They are both efficient and effective. I praise them for valuing and observing compassion without differentiating whether one is a citizen or not as they persist in their efforts to keep everyone safe.
COVID-19 Updates in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 64 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional deaths and seven recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 3,246 with 142 fatalities and 64 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
In a press release, the DOH has announced that they will be working with twelve Chinese medical experts. The latter arrived in Manila today to share their leanings in handling COVID-19 cases with Filipino medical professionals. The Chinese experts also brought with them 5,000 PPEs, 300,000 surgical masks, 30,000 medical N95 masks, 5,000 medical protective face shields, and 30 non-invasive ventilators from the Chinese Government. This collaboration between the medical professionals of both countries will most certainly be crucial in fighting the pandemic. The Chinese experts bring important firsthand experiences and information to be shared.
I believe that both the Philippine and Chinese Governments can work together to bring about an end to this pandemic. This collaboration also serves as a testament to the strong friendship and solidarity between the Filipino and Chinese communities. This also serves as an inspiration for all of us out there especially to the marginalized and disenfranchised sectors of our society that as human beings, we must not look out only for ourselves but also to others for it is only through cooperation that we can hope to survive the challenges that come our way.
Oh magsiawit kayo sa Panginoon ng bagong awit; sapagka’t siya’y gumawa ng mga kagilagilalas na bagay: ang kaniyang kanan at ang kaniyang banal na bisig ay gumawa ng kaligtasan para sa kaniyaMga Awit 98:1
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